This is Why Location is Key for your Long Term Wilderness Survival Shelter

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This is Why Location is Key for your Long Term Wilderness Survival Shelter This author has put it all together in one article. When you are considering a location for long term survival that means your situation is dire enough. You have to focus on several things when you are considering a place for long …

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Measure Distance Using Compass

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Your compass is a measuring tool that can be adapted to a variety of needs. As shown here, it can be used to measure more than just direction.

You can use your magnetic compass to determine the width of a stream or small body of water without having to get wet. This quick and easy method of determining distance using a compass may just come in handy. In any case, it is always a good trick you can use to amaze your fellow survivors.

Here is how it is done.

1. Standing at the edge of the water, sight an object directly across from you on the far bank. Take a compass reading on this object and mark the spot where you are standing.

2. Walk along the stream until the compass reading to the same object across the stream changes by 45-degrees and mark this spot also.

3. Now measure the distance between the two marks you set. This will be equal to the distance between the first mark and the object you sighted across the stream.

For example:

Say you are standing next to a stream and directly across from you on the opposite bank is a large tree. Take out your compass and sight the tree. 

Let’s pretend the compass reads 300-degrees (Azimuth type compass) or S30W (Quadrant type compass). Mark this spot and then walk either downstream or upstream until the compass sighting on the same tree reads 45-degrees in either direction from your first reading (either 255-degrees or 345-degrees on an azimuth type compass, S15E or N15W on a quadrant type compass). 

Mark this position also. The width of the stream is equal to the distance between your two marks on the ground. If you have practiced pacing (and every survivor should) you can count the number of paces between the two marks and calculate the width of the stream.

The best survivalists are skilled in using whatever materials at hand in novel ways that give him an edge over his environment. “Thinking out of the box” is a trademark of the true survivor.

~Urban Man~

Got the mister fans in time for the heat wave

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I’m tweaking the set up for the chicken’s mist and fan set up as there has been some puddling in the chicken pen. This weekend I want to try some different setups with the fans and mist stands to find the “sweet spot”.  If you get misting for cooling I would recommend getting a larger size mist nozzle if you are using a misting stands rather than a set up that relies on gravity.  My new Articcove has a 1.3 gallon flow and works much better for cooling compared to the older model with less than 1 gallon flow.

The exterminators will be in on Monday!  We are getting both the mouse and bug barrier package deal.  The company I selected are about mid-range in cost but does not require a contract.  I hate yearly contracts and this company had great ratings plus  good customer service over the phone.  Ironically with all the clean up done in the basement we drove the mice up stairs. Hopefully the exterminators will finish off the mice and bugs and Mom and I will have a vermin free home going into winter.

I bought the HDX shelving from Home depot on sale. The shelving units were is to put together and works great in the basement in places with limited height.  I liked the shelves so much I bought 3 more for the basement after the first purchase.  So that should tell you some thing about the product.  I have one more section to clean and work on making my preps easy to access, make rotation more user friendly and more rodent proof.  While it does not seem I’ll use as much lumber for new shelving, I think I will have more space that will be easy to use and much easier to clean.  Mom did an outstanding job cleaning up the kitchen and laid down some DE to take out the bugs.  Another treatment that is not fast but darn effective if you maintain it.

Last but not least I’m getting some siding estimates for the house.  While I hate the idea of taking out a loan,  the house’s siding is awful and must be replaced. I’m looking at the a system that adds insulation, insect and vermin resistant, so this is not a cheap job. Vinyl siding is cheap but it is also as flammable as wood so I’m looking at a cement board that is at least fire resistant if not fire proof.  We will see the quotes this week.  Thank goodness I have a small 1200 sq. foot house and not a McMansion.  Another thing, while I like a good looking home I want a home that is good for retaining heating and cooling.  Vinyl siding sucks on  insulation, wood siding is great but as a disabled person “painting a home” every few years  is just not happening. So we will see about the costs and how my wish list will get scaled back to affordability.

In summation: the pets/critters and us humans are staying cool.  The exterminators are coming on Monday and I’m getting bids for the siding that will not only add insulation value and fire resistance,  but stop the mice/insects chewing their way into my home.  Hopefully we will get back to maintenance rather than dealing with “Emergency” management.

5 Best Survival Knots – Strong Life Saving Knots You Need To Know

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Survival Knots

These Five Survival Knots Can Save Your Life in the Wilderness

Whether you’re an avid camper, a determined mountaineer or a wilderness explorer, there’s one critical skill you need to have in your repertoire. It’s something you did as a kid for fun and now it can save your life as an adult – tying knots.

Various expert sources place emphasis on the same types of knots as lifesavers in outdoor situations. Well, today I’ll tell you about a few of those important knots and show you how to tie them like a pro.

Here are the top five survival knots you should master:

  • Figure Eight Knot
  • Bowline Knot
  • Clove Hitch
  • Sheet Bend
  • Taut-Line Hitch

However, before we deep dive into these 5 essential survival knots, you’ve got plenty of paracord, right? I sure hope so but in case you need some or want to upgrade your cordage, here are 6 good paracord brands to choose from.

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Figure Eight Knot

Figure Eight Survival Knot

There are three main variations on a figure eight knot: the simple figure eight, figure eight follow-through and figure eight on a bight. The first knot, as the name implies, is a basic figure eight knot.

The two others add onto the original configuration and expand the uses of the knot. This is one of the strongest knots you can tie and it maintains up to 85 percent of the rope’s strength. This means that the rope is unlikely to break while you’re using it.

Survival Uses

In its simplest form, a figure eight knot at the end of a rope can keep you from sliding off it. It’s secure and won’t come undone because of pressure. You can also create knots along a rope that stay in place and are large enough to grab onto when climbing.

The figure eight follow-through is one of the most useful types of knots for climbing. One reason is that you can make a secure loop at the end of a rope with it, an advantage when someone needs to be hauled up safely.

And it can also be used as a foothold when grabbing onto the rope is difficult because of weather conditions.

Figure Eight On A Bight

The figure eight on a bight creates a strong loop at the end of the rope that can be clipped onto an anchor. You can also create stable loops in the middle of the rope to use as handholds or footholds.

It’s an important survival knot for anchoring, especially when working in high winds or carrying gear up or down a steep incline.


The biggest drawback of using the figure eight knot is that it can be extremely hard to untie. This is especially the case if it has been used over and over again. It also uses a lot of the rope length. On the other hand, it’s easy to tell if you’ve tied it the wrong way with a quick examination.

Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them

The only real mistake you can make with a figure eight knot is to add an extra loop to the figure. This is easily spotted by examination, though.

Detailed “How To” Video

Bowline Knot

The Bowline Survival Knot

Like the figure eight knot, the bowline will hold thousands of pounds of pressure. One difference is that it’s easier to untie after use than a figure eight. The bowline may be the most dependable of all the survival knots you need to learn. It’s also a versatile knot, and there are a variety of ways to use it.

Survival Uses

You can tie the bowline around things or through them, and tie it around yourself (even one-handed). Being able to tie it with just one hand can be a boon when you need to tie a knot in an emergency.

A bowline knot forms a loop in the end of a rope, and the knot tightens more with any increase in pressure on the loop. That’s why it’s useful for hanging items from tree limbs, like food and survival gear.


The bowline can’t be depended on when climbing, in part due to human error. It’s not terribly difficult to use the bowline incorrectly. If the loop is pulled in a sideways direction, it’s possible for the knot to come untied.

Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Because of the possibility of the knot becoming undone, creating a stopper knot beneath the bowline will increase its safety.

Detailed “How To” Video

Clove Hitch

The Clove Hitch Knot

A hitch is a knot that connects a rope to an object. The clove hitch is a simple but important survival knot that’s easy to tie. The benefits you get from it are that it doesn’t loosen or slip, and you can lengthen or shorten the rope without untying the knot.

Survival Uses

A clove hitch isn’t as strong as the figure eight or bowline knots, but it’s a good knot to use for anchoring. It will help you fasten together a shelter because it stays tight and doesn’t usually slip or loosen.

The clove hitch allows the rope to adjust without untying the knot, making it useful for lowering heavy objects or moving them to a higher spot.


Constant movement, like the kind caused by a fierce wind, will eventually loosen the knots, causing a shelter to become unstable. Checking the knots frequently will allow you to adjust and tighten them.

Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them

The clove hitch works best if there’s pressure on the line, which is why it’s good for keeping a tarp or tent stretched. Don’t use a clove hitch if the object it’s tied to rotates because the knot could come untied.

Detailed “How To” Video

Sheet Bend

The Sheet Bend Knot

A bend is a knot that ties two pieces of rope together. If you need a longer piece of rope than you have available, the sheet bend will allow you to safely tie shorter pieces of rope together. It works even if the two ropes are dissimilar sizes and/or each is made of a different material.

Survival Uses

Any method of using rope for survival can benefit from the sheet bend. It’s a way to put every scrap of rope or paracord to good use. It’s also an efficient way to tie together several short strands of cord to make a cargo net if you don’t have enough longer rope to use. 

And cargo nets are a basic building block in the making of hammocks, stretchers, snow shoes and fishnets.


The sheet bend isn’t a very strong knot, coming in at a breaking strength of 55 percent. It can also come loose if the rope is particularly smooth or if there isn’t much pressure on the knot.

The Sheet Bend 2

If the two ropes are different is size, making a double bend with the smaller or more flexible cord makes the knot more secure.

Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them

The most frequent mistake is tying the sheet bend with the short end of one rope on the wrong side of the knot. This is sometimes called the “left-hand sheet bend”. You can check your work by making sure that both free rope ends are on the same side of the knot.

Detailed “How To” Video

Taut-Line Hitch

The Taut Line Hitch Knot

The main benefit of the taut-line hitch is that it can slide up and down the cord and tighten it. This keeps the rope taut and makes the amount of pressure adjustable. The hitch is also easy to untie when no longer needed.

Survival Uses

A taut-line hitch is what you use when sheltering under a tarp. Stringing a rope between two trees and laying your tarp over it is the first step in creating a buffer between you and the elements. To make the tarp into a shelter, you need a firm, tightrope to hang it from.

The taut-line allows your loop to slide and grip which makes it much easier to stake in a large waterproof survival tarp.


The taut-line hitch won’t work for getting a rope tight and keeping it that way. It’s best for easy duty and it must be adjusted often.

Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them

It’s not hard to accidentally reverse the direction of the rotation when tying the knot, causing it to be weaker. You can check this by making sure that the rope ends face in the same direction.

There are different variations of the Taut-Line Hitch. The one shown above is the Midshipmen’s Hitch which is the most secure but may be harder to adjust after going through a heavy tension.

A lot of people tend to tie the Magnus Hitch which is harder to twist but has a higher chance of slipping.

To tie the more secure variation of this hitch, at the last part, remember to reverse the direction when tying the last half hitch.

Detailed “How To” Video

Why Learn Survival Knots?

The short answer is that they can save your life and these five important knots are a good start. The more of these dependable survival knots you learn, the better off you’ll be under adverse conditions.

If you have to navigate difficult terrain while hauling supplies, some types of knots will help make it easier and safer. If you’re lost, the right knots for fishing and trapping game can keep you from starving.

There’s a reason firefighters and Coast Guard rescue crews learn how to tie survival knots. In a life or death situation, a secure rope can save someone from a burning house or a raging storm. You can meet with fire and flood in the backcountry as well, and you’ll need to know how to erect a sturdy shelter to protect you from the elements.

That’s why it’s best to start with these five knots and practice frequently until you can tie them easily. You won’t regret it.

Author Bio

Paul Turner is the owner of Take Outdoors, a website for the outdoor enthusiasts. If you are new to camping, he’s written a comprehensive guide to Camping for Beginners that may interest you.

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How to Choose a Good Campsite As a Bug Out Location

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It seems that these days the internet is filled with articles about bugging out. It sounds like many of you have decided that this is a better cause of action than bugging in. That very well may be the best choice for you. The question remains, though, if you are planning on bugging out, even as a last resort, where are you bugging out to? Do you have a bug out location that is stocked and ready or are you going to be one of many looking for a semi-permanent campsite?

If you are among the group that will be looking for a campsite, here are some suggestions that may help you.

  • Avoid privately owned land, if possible. National and State parks, forests and wildlife refuges are all possibilities. The park rangers will probably be home taking care of their families in a dire scenario. This also means there won’t be any law enforcement, so choose your location carefully.
  • Get out of sight of roads, railroad tracks, and other areas where people are likely to be traveling. A very detailed map of the area, including topography, will help you identify spots that are far enough away from highly trafficked areas and yet be accessible for everyone in the group or family, including children.
  • Keep any fires that you have to start small or better yet use a Dakota fire hole. Be aware of giving away your position not just by a campfire but also sounds and smells. Begin now to learn about noise discipline. Also think about how you’ll prepare food without tell-tale scents giving away your position. (A Sun Oven, in particular, is one cooking device that is tightly sealed and does a good job of keeping cooking smells confined. Once the oven is opened, however, and your food is finished, all bets are off.)
  • Defensibility — The campsite should be surrounded by natural obstacles, limiting access. High ground is preferable, for visibility. However, visibility works both ways. Don’t get silhouetted. Once you’ve found a spot that works for you, you can always add “man made” obstacles, such as large boulders, felled trees, and the like. After a rainstorm or two, they will very likely blend in with everything else and the man-made aspect won’t be obvious.
  • Think wildfire. Always take this into consideration during fire season. Make sure you have a way to evacuate, if needed. This puts you in a dilemma — do you stake your campsite far from any human contact and, thus, limit virtually any evacuation route or stay nearer to civilization in case the worst happens? It will have to be your call and could also depend on the season and current weather conditions.
  • Stay out of low-lying, green, grassy areas. These will collect water if it rains and the ground may be damp, although they may appear at first to be an idyllic location. You will also be easy to spot. However, camping near one of these meadows may be helpful when hunting wildlife, since they provide grazing areas for deer, rabbits, and other mammals.
  • Camp uphill from streams or rivers. This will protect you from flash floods and sudden rises in water levels created by releases from dams. Keep in mind that water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, and you’ll need at least one gallon per day for each person in your group. For me, access to a reliable and convenient water source trumps just about everything else on this list.
  • Look for protection from wind and storms.
  • Check the site for poisonous plants, dangers of falling rocks, overhanging branches and animals, and teach your kids and grandkids what to avoid.
  • Stay back from standing water to avoid insects pests like mosquitoes. Stocking up on mosquito pellets and mosquito netting would be a wise move.
  • Look for a flat place for your bed and campfire.
  • Is there a good source of firewood and kindling?
  • Check for food sources: edible plants, animals, fish.
  • Check for the availability of good water, but don’t be too close. Water will attract people, bugs and wildlife. Be aware that others, once finding a water source, my decide to camp there as well.
  • In the winter, it will be colder in the bottom of ravines and valley or near low-lying rivers. Camping 20 – 30 feet higher can make the difference of several degrees.
  • If your gear is in bright colors make sure there is enough brush and grass around to camouflage them, but if you have the choice, from now on only buy gear that will blend in.
  • Keep your cooking area separate from your sleeping area. Odors will attract wildlife and possibly people.

People can walk right by a well hidden campsite.

Now I have given you a list of all the best options for choosing a campsite for a (temporary) bug out location. If you have to hide from people, you may have to make some hard choices and break many of these rules. Personally, I will bug in until it becomes more dangerous to stay than to leave.  The roads will be a rough place. For me setting up a semi permanent or permanent campsite is one of my last options. Keep in mind, that as members of your group/family age, you’ll have other issues to take into consideration.



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Stay Cool: 4 Tips to Help Renters Beat the Heat This Summer

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This post is by Bernie Carr, Summer officially starts this year on June 2017.  But to many of us who live in warmer climates, it started weeks ago.  If you have air conditioning, you can easily stay cool.  But if you don’t have a/c or want to cut down on utility bills, you can still find free or cheap ways to stay cool. My latest post at the Allstate Blog gives these tips.  Check out Stay Cool:  4 Tips […]

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Stopped the dogs pissing contest?

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I got out the carpet cleaner and cleaned the living room rug and used the upholstery attachments to scrub the lower part of the furniture.  I used Clorox brand urine remover for stains and odors to pre-treat the furniture and rug areas that were involved in the “pissing contest” and then used the Bissell pet odor control type carpet shampoo.

Over all I like the Clorox cleaner as it does not try to cover up the pet smells with fragrance.  The Clorox cleaner also seems quite effective eliminating the mouse urine and poo smell in the basement cleanup.  I also like the fact that the Clorox Urine Remover seems to be equally effective on both hard and fabric surfaces. My rugs nor my furniture had any problem with bleaching or the running of colors using this product.  I also rearranged the furniture and that seems to have stopped the primary pissing spot for the dogs despite the fact I need to do another rug and furniture cleaning to get rid of the odors that my human nose can pick up.   I need to follow-up with the rug and furniture cleaning to stop odors but I think I have made a darn good start of the living room being used as the dogs pissing contest arena.

Onto the laundry area cleanup and it seems to have worked out great!  While I have a bit of extra space to move both the washer and dryer, cleaning under those appliances presents a bit of a challenge.  I used the small shop vac to clean up the mouse poo and then the Clorox urine stain remover on the linoleum to clean up the mousy mess.  Last but not least I used a disinfecting spray on the walls.  OMG it worked out great for killing all the bad odors in about 12 hours!  I’m not sure why the lag time happened on getting rid of odors but I’m glad my clean up worked!  I think a disinfecting spray (Lysol or generic equal) is a good addition to your preps.  I laid out a whole bunch of sticky traps in the laundry area to try to eliminate more mice.

While early days I don’t think there is no one solution to a vermin problem be it bugs or mice.  Good storage procedures is probably the best 1st step but you will still have random vermin problems and that’s where reusable traps are huge help dealing with vermin.  A mild sanitizing solution of bleach used on hard surfaces seems to disrupt both insect and mouse trails.  As per Lee Anne’s worry no buckets, bins or barrels have been breached.  I did have one busted water jug but that looks like human clumsiness/error not mice.

Mom cleaned out her closet and it seems the mice did find some nesting areas but I think Mom’s cleaning efforts let the mice know that nesting area is now shut down.  In a way we are shutting down food sources, water sources and nesting sources in the house that will no longer give mice a place to live in the house, chicken coop or the shop.  The mice are welcome to live in the great outdoors.

Tom, I will check out the Tomcat traps.  around here I have only seen the Tomcat plastic traps but I may not have noticed the metal traps.  Mom and I bought several metal traps that sound similar to the traps you describe.  Today I got 4 adult mice in the basement trap set for 24 hours.  I moved a dog food feeding area and some how lots of  dog kibble got transported close to the wall.   That is now cleaned up and we moved the doggie feeding area!  So far the best answer seems to be is eliminate food sources, set out traps and keeps stuff as clean as possible.  I do think Peppermint oil or Balsam sachet might help for preventing a mouse infestation but once you have mice you just have to clean and set out a lot of traps.

It’s not all bad, I have a lot of motivation to build all those storage shelves now!

My 3 sister garden has been over run by grape vines so seems to be a no go in the current area.  Note to self never start a garden close to grape vines.  In a way it is wonderful as the grape vines are putting out healthy growth.  A little less than conducive to my 3 sisters beds.

OMG the Cabbages and lettuce cole crop front beds look wonderful! It has not been all that hot and the arugula bed bolted already.  Well we can harvest seeds at worst.  I need to weed the cabbage beds that  look lovely and are growing great.

Gosh I understand how easy it is to get distracted as everything can become an emergency.  Mostley it is not an emergency!  Though some issues are critical. Cleaning my food storage area is a priority,  it is not an emergency!

Looking at the big picture can make a person freeze or lockup.  It’s simple,  pick a job and complete the job.  It’s simple it is just not easy.

Gosh I have rambled on a bit.  Mom and I going to build a garden tool bucket and blg about it.

The A/C unit is working great, stopped a 90 + degree day from happening!

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I’m quite impressed that buying this A/C unit seems to have affected the weather patterns over the Pacific Northwest and has caused massive cooling specifically to SW Idaho.   Of course I am joking as correlation is not causation especially since one small A/C unit probably does not affect the global weather patterns!

That being said it does seem to me that the weather models seem to be off after the massive El Nino that happened last year.  Last year at this time it was about 105 degrees F. this time in June and we had a massive snow fall last winter. Now based on my memories, I think we are seeing a weather pattern similar to the late 1980’s cold snow/icy winters and a later but hot summer. Rather than the warmer winters and cooler summers of the mid 2000’s here in SW Idaho.  This is a guess on my part that weather runs in a cycle in decades and not just seasons.  For example, I have lived in this house for 14 years but last year was the first year I had a pipe freeze in my house and it was not all that cold this winter but it was cold for a longer time frame.

June is the month to start getting ready for winter.  I have a lot to do getting rid of the mice infestation and rebuilding the compost pile and and gardening is ongoing,  I am  planing  out what I need for the winter.

  • Wood racks and more firewood: I had plenty of fire wood my problem was my fire wood got wet via ice, snow and a fast melt off.  Solution: build more simple wood racks and cover them with tarps this year and add a “kindling box”.  July have the chimney sweep clean the wood stove and add one more pipe to ensure a good draw on the chimney.  City code is a great place to start for safety but I seem to need and a bit more height on my pipe stack to get a good air draw.
  • Adding salt and sand barrels:  I could not find a salt solution for ice in my backyard that was not hard on my doggies paws.  Also while salt can melt ice it sucks for providing traction.  Sand is great for traction so I want to add a salt barrel for the front yard and a sand barrel for the backyard/alley way for traction.
  • A propane weed burner:  I doubt I will use this to burn weeds.  I can use it to melt ice!  I’m handicapped and can’t break ice apart using a steel bar, sledge hammers and other physically intense systems.
  • An electric snow blower:  I can shovel off a small snow fall.  I can’t shovel a non-plowed street or alleyway.  If I get a small electric snow blower, the alley way could be kept clear if proactive.  We might check out the cost on adding a plow blade for the dually truck,  but I’m guessing the $150.00 dollar cost for an electric snowblower is much more affordable than a snow plow/blade.

You can always start today on your preps, home stead or doom stead no matter what your circumstances are currently.  Don’t be afraid of failure, as failure tends to be the best teacher.  I screw up a lot though I do think my screw ups are getting a bit less noticeable on some things.  Then again the mouse infestation was a darn big screw up based on me not being proactive and following good storage procedures. So far it’s a big job to fix but I will not die because of my screw ups.  The fix on this is not going to be pretty but I do hope the fix is effective.

In conclusion it is better to do things the correct way the first time, but I’m human and I do tend to get lazy or simply trust things won’t go wrong.  Gosh, I can’t imagine why I thought that!  I forgot Murphy’s Law “Everything will go wrong and at the least convenient moment”.

It’s going to be a cool day Monday and I can build the middle section of the compost pile and pull /mix stuff up.  Add a bit of greens and hope to complete the build in a day or two so the chickens can get busy mixing stuff up.  There is nothing wrong with taking some time and planning but at the eventually you must do something even if it is wrong because that is how you learn.


5 Survival Myths That Get People Killed Every Year (LOTS Of People Fall For No. 2!)

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5 Survival Myths That Get People Killed (LOTS Of People Fall For No. 2!)

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Thousands of people find themselves in survival situations each year, and many of them tragically perish simply because they believed a myth to be true.

Below are five such survival myths, and how to avoid them:

Myth No. 1 – Your Shelter Has to Keep You Completely Covered

Most people are under the impression that a survival shelter must consist of four walls and a roof. It is true that your shelter needs to keep you protected from the elements, whether it be rain, snow, wind or the blistering hot sun.

However, a shelter doesn’t always have to keep you covered from all sides. This is because the main purpose of a shelter is to keep you warm and insulated. It may not always be necessary to waste valuable time and resources to ensure that your shelter has four walls with a roof.

For example, in some survival scenarios, a simple lean-to with bedding on the ground will suffice. As long as the wall of the lean-to is against the wind and the bedding offers you ample insulation and warmth from the cold earth, there’s no reason to continue building more walls.

Myth No. 2 – You Can Drink Your Own Urine

Okay, yes, you (sort of) can drink your own urine. However, the idea that your urine will keep you hydrated in a survival situation is a huge myth. On the contrary, your urine is only going to make you more dehydrated and, thus, more thirsty!

Goofy Gadget Can Recharge Your Laptop — And Jump-Start Your Car!

This is something that must be avoided at all costs in a survival scenario, especially if you’re in a hot or desert environment. But perhaps the biggest danger of all to drinking your own urine is the significant stress it will inflict on your kidneys, which will also make you more thirsty.

Don’t drink your urine in a survival situation (unless you filter it with a solar still).

Myth No. 3 – Food Should Be Your Top Priority

Should finding food be a priority in a survival situation? Absolutely. But should it be the “top” priority? Think again.

The human body can last for up to three weeks without any food. In contrast, it can last for only three days without water, and hypothermia can kill you in less than a few hours.

5 Survival Myths That Get People Killed (LOTS Of People Fall For No. 2!)

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So, in other words, finding water and keeping yourself warm and insulated with fire and shelter need to be bigger priorities than finding food.

Another priority over food will be navigation. You don’t want to live in the wilderness; you want to escape from it, and to do that you need to find out where you need to go.

Myth No. 4 – You Can Outrun a Bear

Bears are very bulky and heavy animals, which may make you think they are slow runners or only capable of quick sprints.

But don’t be fooled. Not only can brown bears achieve speeds of 30 miles an hour (far faster than any human can achieve), they can maintain this speed over virtually any kind of terrain.

Should you encounter a bear in the wild and it begins acting defensively or charges you, turning around to run is the very last thing you should do. Instead, open your jacket to make yourself appear bigger, and yell to make yourself seem more intimidating.

The Life-Saving Water Filter That Purifies River Water!

Should the bear charge you anyway, then protect your front with a backpack and get down on the ground and keep yourself covered as much as possible. Play dead, and the bear may lose interest and leave.

Myth No. 5 – Boiling Water Automatically Makes it Safe to Drink

There’s no denying that boiling is among the most effective water purification method. But does this mean that boiling water automatically makes it safe to drink? Nope.

Boiling gets rid of the deadly pathogens and bacteria that you can’t see. But it can’t “kill” harmful chemicals, and it can’t get rid of dirt.

The most effective way to purify water in the wilderness (assuming you don’t have the ability or the time to distill it) is to run it through a water filter, and then boil it. This way, you remove any visible debris while also killing off any bacteria.

What myths would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

How To Build An Underground Survival Bunker From Scratch

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The whole underground shelter thing is not as cut and dry as you may think. I have serious reservations about long term bunker living. How effective would it actually be? How mind-numbing would it be? Having a short-term bunker or storm shelter, on the other hand, is an idea that I can get behind. Even […]

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Shelter in Place (Radiation Emergency)

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Shelter in Place (Radiation Emergency) Nuclear war is one of those things that can send even the most cool headed individual into a downward spiral. Its because of the overwhelming power and the damaging effects of radiation. Its also because we all know about maniacs who also have nukes. Even more terrifying are the ones …

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Here’s Why You Should Keep Your Shelter Preparations Up-To-Date And Bugout Bag Close

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Recent emergency weather events reminded me again of why it is important to keep our prepping supplies current and fresh, and a bugout bag close at hand at all times, whether we’re at work, at play or at home.

In one of the first tornadic events of the season, CBS DFW reported that four people were killed and others hurt as four confirmed tornadoes struck an area east of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Two of the four tornadoes were somewhat powerful – EF-3s – and obviously powerful enough to cause extensive damage and loss of life.

Imagine, if you will, a major tornado, or several smaller tornadoes, striking urban areas like Dallas-Forth Worth directly; the casualty count would be horrific. Deaths would be in the thousands. Public services would falter and fail. Electricity would be smashed for days; maybe even weeks.

Another event that is ongoing has to do with extensive rains and flooding throughout the Midwest, with rainfall in some parts as high as eight inches. According to The Weather Channel, the storms – which were expected to pick up again on Wednesday – caused major flooding that isolated large areas, closing roads and bridges, many of which may not be open for several days. Some, no doubt, have suffered structural damage and will likely be closed for months while repairs are made.

According to St. Louis television station KSDK, some 300 roads were closed – many just temporarily – at one point in Missouri. The affected roads included major interstates like I-44, I-55 and I-70.

As spring arrives, we can expect more of these kinds of weather events. Some will be extremely harsh and very dangerous. Many will cause extensive damage. This is precisely why we need to be prepared at all times for Mother Nature to strike; she does so like a thief in the night – quickly, and without warning.

In addition to weather events, major disruptions to “everyday life” can be caused by forest fires, earthquakes, massive power grid failure, widespread rioting and violence, among others. Road closures, the destruction of bridges and interstates, and societal unrest will mean that grocery stores won’t be resupplied, gas stations will run out of fuel and even the financial sector – banking, especially – could take a substantial hit.

All of these events and more will directly affect the safety and survivability of you and your family. To give yourself a better chance, consider taking these steps and/or making these arrangements/changes now:

— Bugout bag must be handy: Again, you just never know what is going to happen, or when, so you must be prepared at all times to revert into survival mode. This will mean you’ll need to have your bugout bag within reasonable reach at all times. That includes when you go to work, when you’re out on the town, when you’re shopping, running errands, etc. Don’t leave your bugout back behind; it won’t do you any good if you get caught out and about in an emergency and your bugout bag is at home.

— Check your inventory: From time to time it is important for you to look over your gear and inventory your food and water, to ensure that nothing is out of date and in need of replacement. Sure, long-term storage food lasts for many years, but if you’ve been prepping for a long time, expiration dates will creep up on you if you don’t keep track of how long it’s been since you bought your food. If it begins to approach its spoilage date, take it out and use it (go camping, eat it for dinner, etc. – it’s actually good experience). Make sure seals are still good and that water is still drinkable (Note: Commercially purchased bottled water, if it isn’t compromised in some way, has an indefinite shelf life.)

— Update your plans: There are few constants in life except death and taxes. Cities grow. Neighborhoods change. Streets and roads open and close. Make sure you’ve got an updated escape plan (should the situation dictate that) based on current conditions (geographical and otherwise) where you live. Everyone’s situation is different. Make sure your plan fits your situation.

Don’t be caught unprepared for extreme weather or other emergencies this spring and beyond. They say that “chance favors the prepared,” so spend a little time ensuring your preps and your plans are up to speed now, while you can.


Source :

About the author : J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


                        RELATED ARTICLES : 

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A Few Quick Bushcraft Tips and Tricks

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A Few Quick Bushcraft Tips and Tricks There are literally hundreds of tips and tricks out there that are useful in a survival or bushcraft situation. We’ll focus on the four categories needed to secure the basic things you need for survival. If you follow the survival rule of threes, then your basic requirements for … Continue reading A Few Quick Bushcraft Tips and Tricks

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Everything you Need to Know About Prepper Shelters

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Everything you Need to Know About Prepper Shelters Recently I asked a friend if he thought he was prepared for a disaster scenario, something like a  severe weather event or a human-caused catastrophe. He said: “Sure I am. I have a week or so worth of non-perishable food in the pantry and my AR-15 in …

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UST Base Tube Tarp 1.0 Reviews

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A tarp tent is a wonderful addition to your bug out bag as it can be used in many different ways. A tarp tent is a tarpaulin, a plastic or nylon sheet, used in place of a tent. It is usually rigged with poles, tent pegs, and guy lines. Ultralight backpackers use tarp tents because they are easy to set up and lightweight compared to other backpacking shelters which makes for a more pleasant hike. Especially if you need a quick shelter when hit with a sudden downpour.


Recently I was looking for a good, reliable tarp/tent for my husband. We wanted something light, durable, and affordable. We decided, at the recommendation of others, on the UST Base Tube Tarp/tent 1.0. (Ultimate Survival Technologies) We have never been happier with a purchase.

UST Base Tube Tarp 1.0 Features and Specs:

• Ultra-light, compact, tubular tarp protects against foul weather
• Multi-use tube tarp can be used as a ground cloth or sleeping tent
• Reverses for reflective signaling surface
• Flame-retardant
• Sets up in minutes
• Compact and easy to transport
• Aluminized side provides thermal insulation and reflectivity for signaling
Hidden zipper transforms the tarp into a tube-shaped sleeping tent, providing protection from the damp ground below and the elements above
• Can be used as a sleeping tent or all-weather tarp
• Complete instructions are included and also conveniently located on the exterior of the stuff sack
• Includes stuff sack, guy lines, and steel stakes
• Erected HxWxD: 39” x 84” x 35” (99 x 213 x 89cm)
• Packed HxWxD: 15” x 4” x 4” (381 x 102 x 102mm)
• Weight: 1lb 12 oz. (794g)

We did a lot of shopping around and found the UST Tube Tarp to be one of the most affordable, reliable and used ones out there. Before this was shown to me the only recommended tarps I found were $80 or more. That can really hit your pocket if you have 4 bug out bags to supply for. that was a nice change from expensive basic gear. Below are some wonderful review videos for you to check out and decide for yourself if this will be an addition to your bug out or camping gear. A list of products in the videos will be posted at the end of the article.


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Bushcraft Gear – 7 Of The Best Bushcraft Tools For Survival

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bushcraft gear - survival knife cutting

Bushcraft Gear For The Serious Survivalist

The ability to invent, create and use tools are one of the major ways humans differ from animals. Bushcraft gear is the group of tools we first invented as a species. The gear we first crafted from sticks, stones, and bones found in nature. In order to make knives, arrows, spears, fire, shelters, etc.

The best bushcraft gear is the tools that give the ability to make a large array of other tools. For example, having a bushcraft knife opens up a world of possibilities to build hundreds of other useful tools and items.

Before humans became advanced engineers and scientists, we played by the rules of nature. If you go back far enough in history, survival was an everyday endeavor; it was the only lifestyle we knew.

There was no comfortable couch waiting for us at home, or steamy hot shower either. There were no grocery stores and no prepackaged food to meet our hunger pains.

And worse yet, no indoor plumbing so when “nature called”, we were already there because the wild was our home.

Living in those circumstances required a very particular set of tools and skills. What we today call bushcraft.

So What Is Bushcraft?

Over the years we’ve refined and perfected our instruments of survival. And bushcraft became an art form, much like martial arts or rock climbing.

For centuries the tools have remained unchanged while our computers and iPhones seem to evolve every few weeks. However, bushcraft gear and tools are timeless.

Today living in a remote off-grid wilderness is much the same as it was for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Our bodies need the same securities: fire, shelter, food, and water. And the tools used to secure those needs are impressive in their simplicity and functionality.

Now, in today’s society, we typically don’t get to choose when and where and under what circumstances we end up stranded in the wilderness. So a collection of bushcraft tools does you no good stored in your garage.

For example, if you go down in a plane over the high country, you’re not going to have many bushcraft tools with you. (And if somehow you do, kudos, that’s impressive).

So I’ve compiled a list of the best, most essential bushcraft gear. I’ll describe their purpose, where you can buy them and a brief explanation of how to improvise each. But first, let’s get one important definition out of the way:

Bushcraft is the art of surviving in the woods. The official definition is:

“The skill gained by or necessary for living in bush country.”

But I’m going to applying the term more generally in this article. I am not limiting it to surviving “in the woods or forest” but to in the wilderness at large.

Surviving in the mountains, lost in the woods, stranded on an island, or traversing a desert. Bushcraft is the art of survival anywhere. And bushcraft gear is useful in any survival situation.

Bushcraft Gear – The 7 Essential Tools You Must Own and How To Make Them In Nature

1 – Survival Hatchet

If you haven’t read Gary Paulsen’s book, Hatchet, you need to do yourself a favor and get it now. The book follows a young man, stranded in the wilderness with nothing but his trusty hatchet.

He then uses this hatchet to survive through a winter in the wild alone. It’s an incredible example of how versatile and useful bushcraft gear can be.

With a quality survival hatchet, you can cut wood for fire, shape branches for arrows/bows to hunt for food or build a shelter. The possibilities are endless! Which is exactly why I bring a hatchet with me on every excursion I go on.

For the most part, using a hatchet is relatively straightforward: just hack away. And, if the hatchet’s edge is sharp enough you can also use it to shave and score wood.

There are tons of places to buy a hatchet. Any outdoor store or hardware worth visiting will carry an assortment of hatchets.

And if you search online, you’ll find a selection of brands, shapes, weights, and styles to choose from. You’ll be able to find the right hatchet for you regardless of your style, need, or budgetary restrictions.

Don’t worry there’s a hatchet out there for you.

Wetterlings is my favorite company for hatchets and axes. These hatchets are high-quality but they are not the lightest (nor the cheapest).

If weight is your primary concern, then go with this Friskers 14-inch hatchet. This hatchet one only weights 1.4 lbs due to its light (yet still strong) Nyglass (nylon/fiberglass composite) handle construction.

Improvising a Hatchet

The most important part of any hatchet is the head. It needs to be thick and sharp. However, it doesn’t need to win a beauty content.

There are a lot of things that you can use to achieve this. Scrap metal and sharpened stones are usually the best improvisation options.

Once you have a hatchet head selected, lash it securely to a handle using cordage. When you are sure the head will not come flying like a lethal projectile, it should be good to go.

Here’s a video showing a stone hatchet without using cordage.

2 – The Fixed-Blade/Folding Survival Knives

Few tools in a bushman’s pack are as versatile as a survival knife.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

There is a reason the knife has been one of the most prominent survival tools throughout history. Knives are extremely functional.

They serve a lot of different purposes:

• Cutting
• Digging
• Self Defense
• Poking Holes
• Splitting or Batoning
• Perforating
• Shaving
• Using As A Utensil For Eating
• Skinning
• Flathead Screwdriver

In generally, if you think you can use a knife to do it, you most likely can.

Knives come in all shapes and sizes. Some fold, some are fixed, some are double edged, and others only single edged.

Some come attached to multi-tools, while others are as basic as possible. Some are expensive while others are cheap. Some are sleek, and some are just badass looking.

It all depends on what you’re looking for from your bushcraft knife, to decides which one to invest in.

If you want a big “screw-off” hunting knife, check out Kabars (the official knife of the US Marines).

If you want a super lightweight, reliable, folding pocket knife, you can’t go wrong with a Benchmade Knife.

For a fixed blade knife I like Helle knives and blades. They are traditional Norwegian made and reliable.

Improvising a Knife

Improvising a fixed blade cutting tool is far more efficient than wasting time, energy, and resources trying to make a folding knife.

Sure, you can do it. But if you’re in a survival situation and need to make something functional, go with a fixed blade knife. Fix blade knives are easier to make, and they get the job done.

The concept behind improvising a survival knife is similar to making a hatchet: you need a handle and a blade.

Blades are relatively easy to come by, just think like a jailbird and shive up. Use sharpened scraps of metal, sharpened stones, even glass can work.

Handles can be either fastened to the blade with cord/tape or made entirely by wrapping tape around the end until you have something to grip. (A note on using glass: not all shards of glass will work well as a knife blade – but some forms of glass, like obsidian, are better than even the sharpest metals).

Obsidian blades were commonly used by the Maya people, and are SO sharp they cut on a molecular level. Obsidian can still be found naturally today, so keep your eyes open.

3 – Survival Saws

When you are dealing in the wilderness, efficiently cutting wood is a lifesaving skill. And even armed with a hatchet and a pocket knife, you are not going to be removing felled trees from across trials. You won’t be able to cut precise lengths of wood for home building.

For that, you need a saw.

Saws are an ultimate bushcraft tool. Even if, in your day to day life you never need a saw, when bush crafting you’re undoubtedly going to use it. And use it often. That saw is going to be essential, I guarantee it.

There are so many types of specialty saws:

• Coping Saws
• Veneer Saws
• Hacksaws
• Crosscut Saws
• Keyhole Saw
• Fret Saw
• Table Saw
• Rip Saws
• Bow Saws
• Band Saws
• Meat Saws
• etc.

But no one is realistically going to lug their table saw with them in a “shit hits the fan” scenario. So here is a short list of my favorite survival saws.

Forester Survival Pocket Handsaw – This saw fits in your pocket, it’s lightweight and effective at cutting branches. Yes, it would be tough to bring down a tree with this one, but hopefully, you won’t have to.

Gerber Saw Folding Gator – Comes with a fancy little pack making for easy packing. The saw is a lightweight bow saw, with easily replaceable teeth.

Gerber Vital Pack Saw – This is a small, super packable backpacking saw. It will easily fit into some unused nook or cranny of your pack.

Ultimate Survival Technologies Saber Cut Saw – Yeah, the name is a mouthful, but the saw is minimalistic. It looks more like a loop of wire than anything that could detach tree limbs but don’t get fooled. This survival tool is adept at doing exactly that.

How to Improvise a Saw

Improvising a saw in nature is a bit tricky. Saw blades are both precise and unnatural as far as bushcraft gear goes. So you won’t find them lying around in nature.

The closest thing to making an improvised saw is to make a wire saw.

To do this, you will need two key rings, and a length of coarse wire (electrical fencing wire, stripped electrical wires, etc.). Measure out roughly 3 feet of wire and slip the first key-ring halfway along the wire.

Start twisting the wire around itself from the middle (so that you can use the key-ring as a handle). Continue twisting until you get to the end, and incorporate the other key-ring.

The twisted coarse wire should function as a wire saw. But remember this improvised version is nowhere near as effective as the real deal. But it’s better than nothing in a pinch.

4 – Flint and Striker

Fire is the granddaddy of a survival essential. I never leave the house without a lighter on me. I keep packs of matches in every backpack I own and bring a flint and striker on most trips.

I don’t usually use the flint/striker because I don’t usually need to. But the age-old spark making duo has saved countless lives over the years.

The best part about a striker and flint is that they even work if they get wet. So if you want to keep an emergency fire starter on your boat, you should use one of these. If you plan on backpacking through a coastal region, use a flint and striker instead of matches.

Lots of outdoor manufacturers and survival companies make flint and striker setups. Some are cheap and lightweight; others are a little more expensive and flashier. But they all serve the same purpose, and they are all reliable.

All-Weather Emergency 2-IN-1 Fire Starter & Magnesium Fuel Bar

Basic, simple, lightweight, reliable, cheap, easy to use, makes fire. What more could you ask for in a survival tool?

Traditional Hand Forged High-Quality Carbon Steel Fire Striker

Fancy, a little heavier, but very elegant. This handcrafted artisan flint and striker set up is for those who do not mind spending a little extra.

Survival Magnesium Fire Flint Steel Fire Starter Ferro Rod with Wood Handle

At only $8.99 (at the time of this post) this is by far one of the more economical ways to go. Buy a bunch of these and store one in your car, one in your bug out bag, and one in your backpacking pack.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
Improvising a Flint and Striker

The best part about this piece of bushcraft gear is the fact that it does exist in nature.

Unlike a saw or a knife, you can find the materials for a flint and striker laying around. Find two rocks that spark when banging them together. And then get banging.

Or, use a piece of metal to strike against a stone at an angle to generate some sparks.

Not all stone will work, so you may have to try a few different types. But sparks are possible to make in nature without any man made supplies.

5 – Compasses

With luck, you will never get lost in the woods without a compass. They are essential not only to bushcraft but all outdoor activities.

Whether you are hunting, hiking, fishing, kayaking or camping having a true sense of direction is key.

It makes it easier to explore the unknown and find your way back safely. There is nothing worse than getting lost; compasses help you avoid that.

However, investing in a compass relies heavily on how much you want to spend and how you’re planning to use it.

I keep a simple Suunto compass in my hiking backpack and transfer it into my other bags if I need to.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

But when I was mapping out geologic formations in Boulder we used a very high-tech, multi-purpose compasses. Specifically, one known as a Brunton Pocket Transit Geo Compasses.

Now obviously, these are not made for survival, but it illustrates the variety available.

Find one that serves your needs and fits your budget.

Improvising a Compass

Despite being a clever article of technology, the compass is simple to recreate in nature. And it requires only a few basic supplies.

Find a quiet pool of water – preferably a bowl, but in a pinch, a still puddle will work too. Get your hands on a metal needle. A sewing needle works but small lengths of wire also works so long as the metal is magnetic (i.e. contains iron, cobalt or nickel).

Next, place the needle on something that floats (a leaf or a small chunk of cork or on a small piece of wood) and gently set it into the center of the still water.

Make sure there is no breeze or wind.

The needle should align according to Earth’s magnetic field. This alignment indicates North and South. Magnetic needles are a tried and tested method, but requires a bit of patience and very stable conditions (i.e. still water and air).

6 – Whetstones

Equally important to any bladed bushcraft gear, are the tools which sharpen them. Whetstones have been around for as long as bladed tools have, and are vital to maintaining a sharp blade.

Here is a good video to learn the techniques of sharpening knives.

Get the stone wet, and run the blade backward along the rock’s surface at a consistent 20-degree angle. Repeat this until the edge begins to sharpen.

Whetstones are available at most hardware stores and outdoor stores. Wusthof, Accusharp and Culinary Obsession whetstones are a few common brand names available.

Make sure you get a whetstone with a coarse grit side and a fine grit side. These are by far the best for honing your blade edges.

Here are a few more unique ways to sharpen a blade.

Improvising a Whetstone

Almost all whetstones you find on the market are made from artificial stone. Plus, the material particles are all the same size and grit found in nature.

Finding sharpening stones in the wilderness is difficult. You need something very flat, smooth, and dense.

I have heard of people using cinder blocks to hone a rough edge, or flat river stones high in quartz. But finding a random rock that will work well to sharpen your blades is going to be a difficult undertaking.

7 – Fishing Line and Hooks

These two items are so light, cheap, and packable that every survivalist should carry them.

Hooks and line fit into small zip locks and weight close to nothing. And fishing is an essential bushcraft survival skill.

You don’tt have to have a full fishing rig to catch something; you just need a line, a hook, and some bait.

Fishing line and hooks are available nearly everywhere:

• sporting stores
• outdoor stores
• hardware store
• everything store
• dollar stores
• reuse stores
• military surplus stores
• even many grocery stores

But instead, I recommend you snag a FREE paracord grenade from Survival Frog. It includes all the bushcraft fishing gear you need. As well as some fire-starting tools, cordage, and a carabineer!

Click Here Now To Claim Your Free Paracord Grenade
Improvising Fishing Lines and Hooks

As far as bushcraft gear goes, it doesn’t get much simpler than this. So you need to get your hands on some thin line, and a few aluminum can tops.

The can tops can be cut or broken/bent into a near-perfect improvised fish hook. Find some bait, and you are ready to cast your line.

The Final Word

Of any life skill, I would argue that Bushcraft is one of the most important. Kids who grow up never learning how to use a hatchet or to widdle things with pocket knives are not missing out.

They also are not being adequately prepared to handle themselves in the real ‘real’ world. There is always time to learn, though. It is never too late to get out into the wild and start practicing bushcraft. Who knows, you may even master the art.

Of course, no bushman was ever successful without their trusty bushcraft gear. The gear essential to the trade. And without them, you will struggle to survive in the wilderness.

The bottom line is owning key bushcraft gear is an essential preparation. But knowing how to improvise any one of these bushcraft tools is equally important. Because you never know when you might get stranded in the remote wilderness.

-Will Brendza
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300+ Shed, Barn, Chicken Coop and Storage Plans (plus more!)

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300+ Shed, Barn, Chicken Coop and Storage Plans This is the mother load of free plans for sheds, barns, chicken coops, storage and pretty much any other plan you can think of! Spring is here so that means you need a great looking DIY greenhouse or fence plan to keep you busy. Whether you’re just …

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Turn Your Stairs Into A Secret Room / Storage

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How To Turn Your Stairs Into A Secret Room / Storage I absolutely LOVE this. I have a small house but I have a great stairway that is just a waste of space. With this idea, I could turn that into a little hidden room either to hide or stash preps. Maybe even let the …

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One knot every survivalist should know – The Trucker Hitch

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TRUCKER HITCH:  Step-by-Step Tutorial + Video!

The Trucker Hitch is an impressive knot that is comprised of two very basic knots.  The name comes from its use in the transportation industry when tying and securing heavy loads.  It can be used to tie down a load using rope with crushing force.  It is the ratcheting strap of the knot world.  I use the Trucker Hitch to secure my kayak to the roof rack on my truck.  In survival, I primarily use it when setting a rope shelter ridgeline or when sleeping in a hammock.  However, it is extremely useful, whenever the need may arise, to stretch a rope very tightly between or across two anchor points.  While the Taut Line Hitch is also a tensioning knot, the Trucker Hitch allows the user to tighten a rope with considerably more force (if that is necessary or desired).

To tie it, start with forming an overhand loop on the standing part of the rope.


Then, pull a bight from the working end up through the loop.  This creates a slippery overhand loop.


Next, run the working end around an anchor point, such as a tree.  Note that pulling the working end too hard during this step will result in undoing the slippery overhand loop, so care must be taken here.  This is why it’s called “slippery”.  The working end should then be run through the slippery loop, pulled tight, and then secured with two Half Hitches.

Pinching the line on each side of the slippery overhand loop will allow for easier tying of the Half Hitches.

In a frictionless world, the design of the Trucker hitch allows for a 3 to 1 advantage when pulling a line tight.  As can be seen in the labeled diagram, every unit of force pulled on the working end results in three times that unit on the standing line.  The physics of this mechanical advantage is what allows the user to pull the standing line so tight between two objects.  Due to friction through the loop and around the anchor point, the mechanical advantage isn’t a true 3 to 1, but it’s still enough to tighten with impressive force that will rival even modern ratcheting straps.

I’ve also filmed a video about how to tie the Trucker Hitch.  You can watch it here:

If you liked this tutorial and would like to earn 18 more of my favorite survival knots, consider my POCKET FIELD GUIDE: Survival Knots – VOL I.  It can be purchased anywhere books are sold for $6.99.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,



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9 Reasons Why a Garbage Bag is the Best Emergency Shelter

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Okay, maybe a black trash bag isn’t the BEST possible emergency shelter, but a few bags kept in the trunk of your car or in a bug out bag could save your life, and here’s why. These trash bags are:

  1. Inexpensive
  2. Waterproof
  3. Lightweight
  4. Takes up little space
  5. Do not need special skills or tools to utilize as a shelter
  6. Takes a minute to “set up”
  7. No skill required
  8. Can by used by any age, level of fitness, etc.
  9. Versatile: Use a bright color of bag to be found or camouflage with black or brown

I’m not sure how the early settlers along the Oregon Trail or the western frontier got along without duct tape, WD-40, or trash bags, but life surely would have been easier with them! Trash bags, in particular, are included in all my survival kits. They have a multitude of uses, including being containers for picking up trash! But in an emergency, when correctly used, trash bags can prove a quick, temporary shelter from the elements.

I first noticed this trash bag shelter use at winter time football game years ago. The weather got really bad during the last half, with snow, rain, and wind. But one row of die-hard fans pulled out a roll of plastic trash bags, cut holes for their heads and arms, and weathered the storm. I don’t recall how the football team did!

Since then, I’ve taken shelter in trash bags on a variety of outdoor activities. Trash bags are particularly valuable on hunting trips, because a large bag gives you a place to lay meat while you’re butchering in addition to being an improvised shelter, if needed.

This 55-gallon trash can liner can provide a quick emergency shelter. (All photos by Peter Kummerfeldt)

Obviously, if you anticipate bad weather, be prepared for it, stay home or take along with you a lightweight, four season backpacking tent. But, c’mon, how many of you are going to lug around a tent on every outing? Most of us will carry it a time or two, and eventually, the tent will end up getting left at the trailhead. Then, one day, late in the afternoon, you’ll realize you’re lost or in a survival situation and will have to build some sort of shelter before it gets dark.

Reality shows to the contrary, you probably won’t be able to build a shelter out of natural materials, says survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt.

“I believe it is impossble for the survivor to build a waterproof, windproof shelter from natural materials,” Peter writes in Surviving a Wilderness Emergency.  “Shelters made from natural materials require time, natural resources, a cutting tool and a fully-functional survivor who has practiced building emergency shelters in the past! The survivor needs a waterproof, windproof shelter now!”

Large, heavy grade (3 or 4 mil) 55-gallon drum liners can make a good short term shelter. But don’t just crawl in and hunker down. Like any survival technique, you need to prepare and practice to use this shelter.

“Totally encapsulating yourself inside a plastic bag is not a good idea,” Peter advises. “Apart from the need for oxygen, the water vapor in the air you exhale, and your prespiration, will condense on the inner surfaces, and you will get quite wet.”

Include an insulated pad for sitting upon, because the plastic bag doesn’t have any insulation.

To avoid this problem, cut an opening in the closed end of the bag with your survival knife or the scissors  on your multi-tool  just large enough to allow you to pass your head through. The bag is then passed over your head until your face aligns with the hole and the moist air is exhaled outside.

To make the hole, Peter advises cutting the plastic at a 90-degree angle along a seam about five inches below one corner. The hole should be just big enough to pass your head through when you are getting too warm.

This shelter technique works very well. In the Boy Scout Troop I work with, we keep a roll of 45-gallon plastic bags from one of the local tire stores. Each scout takes one on hikes or campouts, in case they need to improvise a shelter, rain poncho or pack cover. The smaller bags are just the right size to cover the little guys from head to toe. Since they’re lightweight, it would be a very easy matter to tuck one inside your kid’s backpack, a school pack or otherwise. Be sure they know how to utilize the bag in an emergency.

Trash bags for shelters are easy to come by. Your local hardware store will probably have contractor-grade 45 and 55 gallon bags. You can also look in the storage area. I found 55-gallon, 3-mill bright yellow bags, designed to cover furniture  for long term storage, that will work quite well as shelters.

Color is another consideration. I prefer blaze orange or bright yellow to help rescuers find me. But if you want to avoid being found, just get the standard black color. Get in the shade of a tree, under a black bag and you will be pretty well camoflauged. A large white bag, also in the shade of a tree, will allow you to blend in well with snow.

I carry several tire bags, along with an orange 55-gallon heavy duty bag as part of my survival kit and my hunting gear. My orange bag already has a head hole cut. In a pinch, per Peter’s advice, I’ll stick my feet in a smaller bag, pull it up around my waist and pull the orange bag down over me. In the wilderness, a sudden rain or snowstorm can happen in an instant and this saves time so I don’t end up getting drenched while digging around for my trash bag, knife, and then preparing the shelter.

Also, as recommended by Peter, I always carry a piece of insulite foam for sitting upon. The plastic bag provides no insulation, and the cold ground will suck the heat right out of you. The padded, warm seat will make waiting to be found much more comfortable, and

Obviously, an emergency shelter is just that. It is designed  to be used in an emergency, and nobody ever claimed that a trash bag shelter is the best choice under any and all circumstances. But a trash bag is lightweight, will give you a waterproof shelter from nasty weather, and is compact and light enough to be taken anywhere. Remember this thought when you’re putting together a survival kit, bug-out bag or a set of wilderness or urban survival tools:

No piece of survival equipment is worth anything if you don’t have it with you!

Article contributed by Leon Pantemburg of Survival Common Sense.

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Cold Weather Tents – Analyzing 5 Of The Best For Survival

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Cold Weather TentsThere are only two reasons why anyone would sleep outside in the dead of winter. You’re either a hard-core adventurist or a survivalist (or both).

When the winter months coming along camping changes for the colder. For every inch of snow and for every degree colder it gets, sleeping outside becomes more dangerous.

That’s why winter camping requires special gear.

And the most critical peice of winter equipment to invest in is a high-quality cold weather tent. Because your super-lightweight summer tent won’t cut it.

Of course, there are ways to secure shelter and stay warm even if you don’t have a cold weather tent (we’ll get to a few of those later).

But you never want to soley rely on your improvisation skills with something as critical as shelter. Because in the worst climates, cold weather tents become layer between warmth and death.

These winter tents come in all shapes and sizes to accommodate anyone no matter the budget or circumstance. The variety is vast. So many choices in fact, that deciding quickly becomes overwhelming.

That’s why I compiled this short list of excellent winter camping tents. Tents that will keep your butt cozy in the coldest temperatures imaginable.

Some are high tech, a few are more basic but they all serve the same general purpose: warmth and shelter.

Owning a cold weather tent is a major step towards being ready for anything at any time (even during the depths of winter).

Owning one is like having a mobile warming cabin even in a dark desolate winter. But the trick is picking the right one for you
Cold Weather Tent With Man Sitting Outside

Choosing the Right Tent

It was the dead of winter and I was working with a filmmaker in the far Alaskan north on an arctic nature documentary. And let me tell you – it was freaking FRIGID out there.

Colder than I knew nature could get.

Well, the plan was to stay out there for a couple of weeks. A prospect I was altogether reluctant to get excited about.

That was until I saw his cold weather tent. The thing was huge. It had a massive vestibule, a thick waterproof shell, and a wood burning stove complete chimney.

His tent was big enough for five plus the massive amount of film gear we were lugging.

It became our home-base and was always a welcome sight after a long day in the cold.

I tell this story for two reasons: 1) to illustrate how effective these tents can be. The Arctic Oven Tent that we were using out on that freezing tundra kept us cozy as koozies.

And 2) not every tent is right for every situation.

We needed a super-warm form of shelter big enough to house us and all our equipment. We knew we weren’t going to be moving it and we had a bush plane to carry the tent/stove apparatus.

But I wouldn’t want that tent for most situations. It would be way too warm, way too big, and way too heavy for most situations. Sure, it worked for the arctic tundra, but it’s overkill for one night in Rocky Mountain National Park.

So there are a few considerations you need to take into account:

What will you be using your cold weather tent for?

If you plan on staying a month out in the coldest regions of the Yukon, you’re gonna need a big ol’ tent. However, if you’re planning a backpacking trip for a day of ice fishing, you’ll want something far smaller.

Will you be carrying or driving your tent around?

I’ll go back to the big Arctic Oven we used in Alaska – that cold weather tent required heavy equipment to move it around. There’s no conceivable way we could have carried something that heavy over any distance.

So if you intend to use your cold weather tent for vehicle camping only you’ll have no issues going BIG. But if you’re winter backpacking, keep it light and packable.

How many people and how much gear do you plan on housing in your tent?

If you’re taking your entire family, or have a ton of gear and supplies you’ll need a big tent. If you’re by yourself and practicing minimalist camping, go light because you won’t need a large one.

Multiple Cold Weather Tents In Snow 1The Best Cold Weather Tents

These days, nearly every serious outdoor gear company boasts their own version of a cold weather tent. Which is good for you because it means you have more options. Choices for budgetary wiggle room and options for personal preferences.

But it also means there’s lots of comparisons to do. That’s why I’ve compiled this short list of the best rated cold weather tents (and pros – cons for each).

1 – Arctic Oven 12’x18’ With Vestibule

Artic Oven Cold Weather TentI had to start with this tent because The Artic Oven was one of the coolest warmest tents I’ve ever been inside of. There was so much space inside. And the tent trapped SO MUCH heat we started sweating even when it was -7 degrees outside. That’s crazy good.

The tent comes in a variety of options and several sizes – and the prices vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.


This one’s extremely warm includes futuristic technology and is HUGE (226 square feet). It’s a four season tent and can fit ten to eleven people inside during the summer. It includes an oven, has a vestibule, and is very durable and wind resistant.


This beast weighs 110 pounds (don’t plan on carrying it anywhere). It only sleeps five to six people during winter (w/ cots and stove) and takes a while to set up. It’s also a bit of an investment.

Click here to check out today’s price.

2 – ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3

Alps Mountaineering Cold Weather TentThis is a lightweight winter tent, but The ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3 is still fairly heavy if you’re carrying it solo. The small dome-shaped 3 person tent is warm and its shape makes it nice and spacious.


This one is cost effective, small, and packable. It’s spacious inside, includes a large and high vestibule. It offers 14 square feet of space for cooking and storage.


Not the most durable tent in the world (could have benefited from rip-stop technology). Unfortunately, it’s fairly heavy at 8 lbs. Heavy enough to be a pain in the back on a long trip. This option is best for people with sleds or cars. Also, the tall sidewalls make it more susceptible to wind.

Click here to check out today’s price.

3 – Big Sky Chinook

Big Sky Chanook TentAnother smaller cold weather tent that’s perfect for people who won’t be lugging along tons of gear or lots of people. The Big Sky Chinook will keep you warm with its doubled walled construction to prevent condensation inside.


One word lightweight! (only 3 lbs 11 oz) making it ideal for winter backpackers. This is the one you want if you’re bugging out in the winter months.

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It comes with three lightweight aluminum poles but works fine with just two to cut down even more on weight. It has a large interior with high ceiling, easy setup, and two vestibules.


This one is small. It’s only big enough for two people. The poles are located on exterior exposing them to elements.

4 – Mountain Hardwear EV 2

Mountain Hardwear EV TentMountain Hardwear makes quality outdoor equipment. And The Hardwear EV 2 is no exception.

This tent is on the forefront of cold weather tent technology. It utilizes Mountain Hardwear’s patented 3-pole Evolution Tension Arch. This is a serious piece of gear for serious winter enthusiasts (which reflects in the price tag).


A compact single wall tent, designed for extreme cold weather expeditions. It has a low-to-the-ground shape making it resistant to wind. Plus, it rocks a big vestibule for storage and cook.


It’s got a low ceiling and can feel cramped inside with two people and gear. It only comes in one color option.

It weighs in a 5 lbs 4 ozs. Which is enough to be a weighty addition to a backpack. Reportedly (according to reviews) this tent is not completely waterproof. So if it’s exposed to a torrential downpour things might get damp inside.

Click here to check out today’s price.

5 – Marmot Thor 2 Person Tent

Marmot Thor 2 Person TentThis ones a burly two person tent fit for almost any cold weather adventure. The Marmot Thor 2 is both small and packable. This tent is an affordable, dependable option for cold weather camping trips.


It has two doors as opposed to one, 40d Nylon Ripstop fabric (very durable), 38 square feet inside.


This one’s on the heavier side at 8 lbs 6 ozs. The fastening clips for the vestibule are prone to pop off. The front vestibule door is small and may be annoying for tall people to get in and out.

Click here to check out today’s price.

Old School TentA History Brief of Tents

Shelter is necessary for survival. Our human ancestors sought shelter in forests and caves. And eventually in huts, homes, and tents. In fact, portable, packable shelters were extensively used by nomadic cultures throughout history.

The very first recorded ruins of tents were discovered in Russia. Hunter-gatherers of this region used mammoth hides to create warm, wind resistant shelters. In this way, they protected themselves from the intense Siberian weather.

Later in history, teepees, and yurts became popular. They enabled people to set up camp to hunt and gather until resources became scarce and they needed to move on.

Mobile sheltering was a lifestyle for Mongolians and Native Americans. Yurts are still an extremely popular design today. For example, you can find them in use throughout the Rocky Mountains.

The Romans were also big into tents. Not because they moved their civilization from place to place (after all, they built Rome). But their armies conquered most of Europe, parts of Africa and the Middle East. So they needed portable transportation.

They used tents everywhere. Big tents, little tents, fancy tents, whatever kind of old-school tent you can imagine. Most of their tents were fashioned from calf or goat skins.

In fact, tents have been an essential survival tool for every single war since ancient times. The French Revolution, the American Revolution, the American Civil War, WWI, WWII, and beyond.

Tents are such a useful mechanism for portable shelter they’ll likely be popular well into the future.

Today, after all those thousands of years using and refining tent technology we’ve come a long way. And cold weather tents are a perfect example: durable, warm, water resistant, and windproof.

The bottom line is tents have come a long way since the days of hunkering down under mammoth hides.

No Tent? No Problem!

Actually, that isn’t exactly accurate. If you get stuck outside in winter without a cold weather tent to take shelter inside of, you DO have a problem. One that threatens your life, in fact. But there are lots of ways to improvise in such a situation.

Build An Igloo

Tried and tested, the igloo is one of the best cold weather shelters in history. Carve a bunch of bricks of snow and start stacking.

The tough part about building an igloo is the fact that it takes a long time. If you know you’re stranded outside for the night and have all day to prepare, go for an igloo.

The snow and ice walls work very well as insulation against harsh temperatures and winds.

Dig a Snow Cave

Similar to an igloo, this concept uses snow as an insulator to keep you warm. Snow caves are nice because they are faster to dig out, and they don’t have to be very big. Just large enough for you to crawl inside of, curl up and suffer through the harsh night.

Snow caves have saved countless lives over the years. So if you ever need a quick, warm shelter in a pinch, start digging. You need to scoop out enough snow to fit inside, and then jimmy-rig a door.

(Using a large snowball, a chunk of ice, a winter jacket, rain jacket, piece of plywood, etc. works very well). The trick with the door is to make it as airtight as possible. Otherwise, all the heat you build up inside escapes and you freeze to death.

(But be careful, making your snow cave too airtight can result in suffocation. Find that balance…)

Here’s a time-lapse video of an elaborate snow cave being built.

Insulate a Summer Tent With Snow

There have been times I’ve been backpacking in the spring, totally confident it would stay warm and sunny, only to get caught in a freak blizzard.

What can you do? If you’re carrying a tent (even if it is not a cold weather tent) you can add insulation – as long as there’s snow. When you pack a couple inches of snow onto the outside of your tent, you increase that tent’s ability to hold heat.

Unfortunately, if the snow melts and your tent isn’t waterproof chances are you’re getting soaked. But if the snow is melting then it’s not all that cold out anymore. Yeah, you survived.

The Final Word

Hypothermia is a deadly killer – responsible for thousands of deaths a year. The cold weather is dangerous. (This hopefully isn’t news to you).

Sadly, that fact can get in the way of outdoor activities during the winter. But that doesn’t mean you have to let it stop you from enjoying the outdoors! You only need to make sure you’re prepared. And the first step towards preparing yourself for winter camping/survival is to get your hands on a cold weather tent.

Yes, everyone is going to need something different. But I assure you, there’s a winter tent out there with your name on it.

But be careful and do your research before you buy – not all cold weather tents are created equal. Do your research and know your needs.

Owning a cold weather tent is like owning a portable hunting lodge, cross-country skiing yurt, or warming hut. Surviving in winter weather gets a lot more difficult without a cold weather tent. If you consider yourself self-reliant, someone who’s ready for any survival situation, you need a high-quality cold weather tent.

Will Brendza

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Shelter in Place Kits – How Duct Tape and Plastic can Save Your Life

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Shelter in Place Kits – How Duct Tape and Plastic can Save Your Life   Like Broadway Joe once said “First, I prepare. Then I have faith.” The Shelter in Place kit is not one you want to find yourself using if you can help it. As a matter of fact, you will probably need …

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Two-Story A-Frame Cabin

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Two-Story A-Frame Cabin This tiny house could change your life if more ways than you can imagine! If you are like me and can’t afford a big fancy cabin for a retreat or even a bug out shelter, this 2 story, half A frame tiny house may just be your saving grace. Yes it’s small …

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REPOST: SurvivalRing Guide #1: Five Most Important Skills for New Preppers…Set Your Foundation First (plus bonus Bug-out section)

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“Hello…We’re the Preppers…” The “Prepper” movement has grown exponentially in the last few years, thanks to reality TV shows such as “Doomsday Preppers” (aka DDP), and all the knockoff shows and repeats on many other networks, as well as online TV show services like Hulu and NetFlix. Mainstream print and online media is following in […]

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Building a Natural Emergency Shelter With No Tools

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ominous_forest_coldHave you ever tried to build a shelter from natural materials in the woods?  Have you ever tried to do it with no tools?  Have you ever tried to do it with no tools in the winter in a foot of snow? Well I did, and here’s what happened. I went out snowshoeing with my yellow lab (Phyllis) and thought it might be cool to pretend that I was lost and needed to set up a shelter for the night.  It was about noon in mid-February, which meant I had roughly four and a half hours to build a shelter and get a fire going.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Since I never go into the woods without minimal equipment I can’t say that I had zero gear, but I didn’t use any of it when I built it.  Here’s a little video of just how easy it is to build a shelter from natural materials in the snow with no tools.  What could go wrong?

Time Line:

  1.  Fall on my ass:  5 seconds
  2. Swear:  17 seconds
  3. Gather wood:  1:20
  4. Breaking wood:  2:51
  5. Constructing the shelter:  4:54
  6. Tipping:  6:08
  7. Covering the shelter:  6:53
  8. Digging the firepit:  7:19
  9. Lighting the fire:  8:24
  10. Chillin’ in the shelter:  9:03

Don’t Lose Heat!

Before we actually build the shelter let’s take a look at some of the objectives.  First and foremost, don’t lose heat!  You lose heat through the following processes:

  • Convection – think blowing wind here
  • Conduction – like sleeping on the cold ground or sitting on a cold rock or log
  • Radiation – heat leaving your body like heat waves coming off  a woodstove
  • Evaporation – sweat

Building a shelter from what you have around you with no tools and keeping these rules in mind is a bit of a tradeoff.  Do the best you can with what you have.

Resources and Construction

In my case, I decided to build a lean-to style shelter from what was lying around in the forest.  In the section of forest I was in, there were a lot of standing dead fir trees about three to four inches at the base.  I looked all over and found a good supply of what I’d need, then went back to where I’d decided to set up my camp.

Read Also: Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods

It was in the forest near water, although this wasn’t absolutely necessary since there was so much snow on the ground.  However, it’s easier to gather water or ice then melt snow, so you exploit whatever edge you can, which is what I did in my mock survival situation.  It was also close to my supply of wood and a decent amount of fir trees, which I’d need for the fir boughs.

Next I laid a small log between two trees supported by small logs I’d broken and put underneath to hold it up.  This “cross beam” was about three feet off the ground.  Then, I laid a couple of ribs along it to get an idea of how long they’d need to be so I could break bunch to the right length.

survival_shelter_fallen_treeAfter this, I went and gathered what I hoped was enough wood to put the ribs on the shelter.  (If you haven’t seen the video, you should check out the first minute or two.  I completely fall on my back, while breaking some trees off).  Hey – nobody said it was going to be easy. Next I had to break the tree length sticks to the right size.  To do this, I found two trees close together.   Then I stuck the wood I wanted to break between the two and pulled on it until it broke where I wanted it to.  This isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done.  (Again, see the video for a demonstration).

I tried to build the shelter with it’s back to the wind so as to cut down on convection.  When you have a wind blowing it lowers the temperature considerably and with my shelter set up with it’s back to the wind and the fire throwing heat in, I was in pretty good shape.

Covering It Up

winter_shelter_survival_fireOnce I had the ribs on it was time to cover it up.  There are plenty of fir trees in that area, so I resorted to a technique called “tipping”, which means to break the tips off some fir branches in order to get what I need.  This doesn’t particularly hurt the tree as long as you don’t snap off every branch.  I gathered five or ten armloads and put some on the outside of the shelter and a few armloads inside as well to avoid losing heat through conduction.

Related: Ten Facts About Fire

Special note:  if I were going to build this for real, I’d put a lot more pine boughs over the top and on the ground to really help with the insulation.  Since this was a demo and I was getting tired I decided to go light on the insulation.

Next I broke some wood up for the fire and grabbed some small dead branches off fir and pine trees.  I piled the wood up and put the tinder on top then lit it with a lighter I happened to have in my pocket.  (I could have used a firesteel, but the lighter was quicker and easier).

Pretty soon I had a merry blaze going and decided to make myself some coffee.  Part of that small kit I told you about is a military canteen cup, so I poured in some water and made coffee using a coffee bag (exactly like a teabag, but with coffee instead).

After Action Report

canteen_cup_fire_shelter_survivalIt really wasn’t that difficult making a shelter using natural materials.  True, I don’t feel like I totally finished it, but it would have been easy enough if I needed.  I could have also covered it up with snow to really insulate it or added more to the front to make it less of a lean-to and more of a full shelter instead. The total time to make the shelter, even in the snow, was about two to three hours.  The thing about a shelter like this is you need a lot of wood to keep you warm through the night.  In the area I was in, it wouldn’t have been a problem because of all the dead wood laying around, but in other areas it might not have worked out so well.

Again, you’ll need to adjust the kind of shelter you have according to the materials available. Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!


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Cordwood Building – An Old-School Building Technique

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Cordwood building – An old-school building technique The first time I found out about cordwood construction was while visiting a close friend of mine. He built a great retreat in the woods of North Carolina. He did it after researching his family history and the way his ancestors build houses. After seeing his cabin and …

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23 Free Workshop and Shed Plans

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23 Free Workshop and Shed Plans This is the mother load of free workshop and shed plans. Spring is pretty much here so that means you need a great looking shed to potter around in and look awesome! Whether you’re just dreaming it or you’re ready to build it, the backyard workshop is the ultimate …

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SURVIVAL TREES: BASSWOOD – Amazing survival resources from the Basswood Tree

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As spring quickly approaches, I’d thought I share with you why the BASSWOOD tree is one of my favorite Survival Trees!


Trees can provide a survivor with elements from all four core survival priorities:  Shelter, Water, Fire and Food.  Trees can be used for warmth, hydration, food, tools, and self-defense.  It’s crazy to think that one can use a tree to start a fire, take shelter under it, and then find themselves able to eat and drink from it.  Trees provide an immeasurable number of materials essential to survival, and studying the different species, as well as what they offer, is a worthwhile endeavor that will pay major survival dividends time and time again.

This article is an except from my much more extensive POCKET FIELD GUIDE titled SURVIVAL TREES that will ship (autographed) in the APRIL FORAGER EDITION APOCABOX.  Each tree is accompanied with illustrated drawings of its leaves and (on occasion) other identifying features, such as fruits, nuts, barks, or buds.  The guide (nor this article) is not designed or intended to be a tree identification guide. Rather, it should act as a supplement to other guides on the subject, offering survival specific information and insight that typically is not covered (or even mentioned) in the average identification guide.  

The use of each tree type is broken down into some or all (if applicable) of the following five survival categories: Shelter, Water, Fire, Food, and Tools & Miscellaneous.  The information contained in these categories has taken me nearly two decades to compile, learn, and test.  Yet, I am sure there are still uses and resources for each tree that I do not know.  It is my hope that this article deepens your knowledge and appreciation for the amazing BASSWOOD tree.

Basswood (American Linden) : Tilia americana

The American Linden, or Basswood, is one of my favorite survival trees.  Not only is it entirely edible, but the Basswood also provides a surprising number of other survival resources.  In Britain, this species is often referred to as the Lime Tree, though it is not the source of the lime fruit.


The Basswood tree is not a particularly good tree for shelter.  However, mature Basswoods are notorious for sending up a slew of smaller sucker Basswood trees from their base.  This is one way I am able to identify Basswoods in the winter when their leaves are gone.  These sucker trees are usually very straight, tall, and easy to harvest.  Although not very strong, like oak or maple, they still make great shelter poles if fallen branches aren’t available.  Basswood is a very soft wood and a favorite among wood carvers. Even 2-3” diameter saplings can be cut easily with just a knife.  Consider this option before spending significant calories on a tree of a different variety.


Basswood trees can be tapped just as a Maple can be tapped.  Although not nearly as high in sugar content and not worth boiling down for a sweet syrup, Basswood sap is incredibly refreshing and is one of the fastest sap trees I’ve ever tapped.  Young sucker trees, as well as 1st season growth on branches (1/2” in diameter or smaller), can provide a survivor with a very functional spile.  The centers of these two are very pithy and can quickly be reamed out with a wire or a thin branch with a sharpened point. I’ve used many a Basswood spile while gathering drinking sap from Basswoods, Maples, and Birches.  Friends of mine who make tobacco pipes will often use a young basswood sucker for the tube because of its hollow nature.

The Basswood is also a sign that you are probably near water, as they prefer moist, water-rich environments.  If you’ve found a Basswood tree, keep looking because there is likely a water source close by.  


Basswood is not a great wood for extended warmth and heat, but it is without question my favorite wood to use for friction fire kits such as Bow Drill and even Hand Drill.  Basswood, especially sucker trees and 1st year growth branch wood, is the perfect consistency for friction fire lighting.  The light-weight, porous wood generates a nice hot ember very quickly.  Sucker trees at the base of mature trees are my favorite for this, but fallen limbs and branches will work just fine as well.  Regardless, it is one of the softest woods available.  When available, I use Basswood to make both the hearth-board and spindle for my Bow Drill fire kits (see POCKET FIELD GUIDE:  Master the Bow Drill).


Young Basswood leaves are my favorite wild edible green.  I eat a basswood leaf salad at least two times a week from March-May.  When their flowers are in bloom, I will add them to the salad, as they are edible too.  The leaves are very mucilaginous and may pose a texture issue for some.  While edible all throughout the summer, Basswood leaves are best when young and smaller than a silver dollar.  I also like to steep 10 or so flowers in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes to make a fragrant tea that I very much enjoy.

The seeds of the Basswood are edible as well, though, they are time consuming to collect.  They dangle from underneath the leaves in small clusters and are attached to a tongue-shaped bract.  The hard, outer shell must be cracked away to access the edible seed. I simply do this inside my mouth and spit out the hull, although I’ve been known to chew it up on occasion.  When green, before the hull turns hard and brown, these can be ground into a paste or added to soups and stews.  Basswood seeds, leaves, and flowers can all be added to soups and stews.

The inner bark of Basswood (the whitish layers between the rough outer bark and the solid wood) is edible as well and has a very refreshing texture and flavor.  It reminds me of cucumber.  It can be scraped away in handfuls and eaten raw or boiled to break it up and soften it for chewing and digesting.

Basswood leaves can get quite large and make perfect natural tin foil for baking meals in earthen pits or in the coals of a fire.  Wrap food in at least 5-6 layers of green leaves and tie with the peeled bark from young basswood suckers or branches.

An old-timer once told me that he heard of families in the Great Depression who added basswood sawdust to bread-mix as a filler to make rations last longer.  The wood is not poisonous, so it’s something to at least file away in your brain.

Tools & Miscellaneous

As mentioned previously, the hollow tubes from basswood suckers and young branches have many uses.  Some of these include: 

  •        Spiles for tapping trees
  •         Drinking straws
  •         Blowing tubes for making coal-burned containers
  •         Smoking pipes (not necessary for survival but interesting nonetheless)
  •         Trap systems that require a hollow tube (yes, there are some)
  •         Bobbers/floats for fishing

Basswood is a very soft, nonpoisonous wood and makes an excellent medium for a variety of cooking utensils including spoons, ladles, forks, chopsticks, stirring sticks, and spatulas.  Most of these can be carved with just a knife in very little time and with little effort.  Using basswood for such tools also reduces wear and tear on your knife blade.  Due to their fast and straight growth, basswood sucker saplings also make excellent quick and dirty arrows for bow and arrow or atlatl.  They are lightweight, have few branches, and very easy to fire or heat straighten.

By far the most incredible resource the Basswood tree provides is cordage.  That name “BASS”wood is actually derived from the word BAST, which means plant fiber.  The inner bark of the Basswood tree is one of the most easily accessible fibers I’ve ever gathered from the wild.  It is best gathered when the sap is running heavy during the spring months.  With saplings that are 3” in diameter or smaller, the tree can be scored from left to right.  A knife can be used to pick at the score line and once a piece large enough to grab is available, entire strips that are many feet in length can be pulled from the sapling.  If care is taken, saplings can be cut down and the entire sheath of outer and inner bark can be removed in one piece by carefully peeling from the bottom.  Pounding the bark with a wooden mallet (metal will damage the inner bark fibers) will help it to loosen and will be necessary to process trees much larger than 3” in diameter.  I’ve seen sheets of bark pulled from basswood trees (with many hours of careful peeling and pounding) as large as 2 feet wide by 15 feet tall.

The inner bark fibers, just beneath the rough outer bark, can be processed into cordage that can be used to make nets, clothing, baskets, traps, or any other accoutrement necessary for survival.  On the younger saplings with a thin layer of outer bark, the freshly peeled strips of bark can be used right away as crude cordage for shelter building or rough bindings.  In my courses, I’ve seen two adult men pull on opposite sides of a 2” strip of basswood bark and not be able to break it.

For a finer, more pliable cordage, the bark must be soaked (called retting) in water for at least a couple weeks.  The rotting process loosens the inner bark fibers from the outer bark.  It can then be easily pulled away in long ribbons that can be used as is or stripped down into thinner cordage.  The soaking can be done in a container or at the bank of a pond and river.  This process of retting works for many varieties of trees including, Walnut, Willow, Tulip Poplar and Cottonwood to name a few.

Because Basswood bark can be removed in large chunks from the tree (typically during spring months only), it is an excellent candidate for crafting bark containers.  Below is a basic pattern for making a seamless bark container.  The dashed lines represent fold lines.  



If you’re like me and like to learn how to glean food and resources from trees and plants, consider subscribing to the APRIL APOCABOX called the FORAGER EDITION.  It is all about foraging and includes an exclusive signed copy of my POCKET FIELD GUIDE titled SURVIVAL TREES where I detailed the survival uses for many more incredible trees on the forest.  To subscribe to the FORAGER APOCABOX, CLICK HERE:

For more of my Pocket Field Guides, please visit my page at:

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


How To Make Papercrete

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How To Make Papercrete Papercrete is the ultimate building material for preppers, homesteaders, and off grid living enthusiasts. It is easy and cheap to make. It also could solve your paper and cardboard recycling problems. Literally! You make these building blocks by using old paper or cardboard. The process to make papercrete is easy and if …

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“Micro-Homestead” This Modest Survival Shelter Could Save Your Life When It’s Time to Bug Out

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By Mac Slavo –

It certainly isn’t much, but when you have nothing else, it could be all you need.

In many emergencies, bugging out may not be the best option. Certainly it is not the best choice for every SHTF situation.

However, there may be situations where you need to leave your home or dwelling, get out of the city while you can, and lay low until/if sense ever returns to society.

You Tuber Kevin Coy shows you what may be the lowest cost, least effort way to build a viable survival shelter – which could also have uses for hunting, camping, play, etc.

He’s calling it a “micro-homestead.”

For the millions of Americans who can barely make it to the next paycheck, much less invest in high priced gear, supplies and stocks, it may be much better than nothing at all.

Here’s the set-up he came up with:

Of course, there are many other options, especially for those who have the means to purchase, build and develop more ideal structures and set-ups.

However, at 8×8, this building could likely be built without permit or on-grid approval in most areas, and could at least serve as a temporary structure until your dream getaway is ready to go!

Prepping requires time, energy, mental and physical effort and especially the mindset to plan ahead, make sacrifices in the “now” and put valuable resources towards insurance for the future. Many will contemplate taking action, but fewer still will actually be ready when the SHTF.

But the first step in this direction may prove to be the most important one you ever make…

This article first appeared at“Micro-Homestead” This Modest Survival Shelter Could Save Your Life When It’s Time to Bug Out

Filed under: Bug Out Bags, How To Prepare, Prepping, Shelter

The Cricket Trailer: RV with Low Costs to Combat High Gas Prices

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The Cricket Trailer: RV with Low Costs to Combat High Gas Prices The Cricket trailer is a great option for a camping or bug out trailer. Low cost, lots of usable space. This trailer will quite literally rock your world. Before you start reading this could I trouble you to vote for this website as …

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Best Survival Belts And How To Use Them To Secure Your Future

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best survival belts

Survival belts have come a long way…

When thinking about belts, I bet the last thing that comes to mind is versatility. Because the primary function of a belt is to hold up your pants (or discipline children).

And since the latter is frowned upon, we’re left with the basic task of holding up one’s trousers. Beyond that, they are of limited use on a day to day basis, right? That’s what most people think.

But belts are surprisingly useful. A belt can be one of the most functional accessories you wear. A good solid belt is durable, designed to cinch and bind, and can secure things in place.

They can also work as a makeshift self-defense tool. When you really stop to think about it, the survival uses for a good belt are nearly endless.

And more recently belts have become available specifically for survival.

Some survival belts are not much different than regular belts but with much-improved durability.

While other survival belts are designed to with built in survival tools and functions.

That’s why finding the right survival belt for you can quickly become an overwhelming process.

So in this article, we’ll first cover a few of the better survival belts on the market covering the highlights of each belt, and then wrap up by talking about the best survival uses for belts.

So if you’re in the market for a survival belt, I recommend you pay attention. And if you’re not, maybe you should be.

Different Survival Belts and Where to Buy Them

Different belts serve different purposes. And the survival belt niche is growing fast and not all survival belts will accomplish the same things. So when selecting a survival belt, it’s important to consider your goals.

The Survival Belt By Side Belts

survival belt by side beltClassic style and rugged versatility, meet utility with this belt. Made by the Side Belts team, this belt’s strap has an internal webbing core and coated in a TPU alloy protective shield. This webbing and coating give it maximum resiliency and durability for emergency situations.

The buckle of The Survival Belt is made of durable nylon. It also features a built-in folding knife, a bottle opener, LED flashlight, and a fire starter rod. This belt has all the essentials for an emergency.

It’s one of the better survival belts on the market today. Watch the video below for an excellent overview of all this survival belt has to offer:

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Belt

gerber survival beltLike the survival belt above, the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Belt has a lot of built-in features. The strap is durable nylon, and the buckle is a composite plastic that can resist a lot of wear and tear.

The buckle comes with a small compartment to carry a few fishing hooks, fishing line, lead weights, and some clips. Plus, it also includes a signaling mirror and a removable mini-screwdriver with flat and Phillips head.

There is not a lot of “extra” room inside the compartment on this survival belt. However, there’s just enough room for an additional small item or two (i.e. matches, a picture of a loved one, a small blade, etc.)

Elite Cobra Riggers Belt

elite cobra riggers beltThis belt doesn’t have all survival bells and whistles as the previous two survival belts. Instead, this belt is built strictly for durability, usefulness, and safety in mind. Plus, it looks badass.

The Elite Cobra Riggers Belt is a reliable option for tactical climbing needs. It’s got a built-in D-Ring Cobra buckle that allows for repelling from sheer face cliffs.

The strap is constructed using military spec type 13 webbing and is rated for 7000 lbs of tensile strength.

This is one of the simplest, most effective tactical belts on the market.

Paracord Survival Belt

rattlers strap paracord beltFor obvious reasons, paracord belts make for fabulous survival tools. Paracord belts are durable, and they serve many survival purposes. Just unravel the 550 paracord to offer many yards of high-tensile cordage.

This style of belt is modeled after the paracord survival bracelets. Which serve a similar purpose, but in belt form provides much more length.

Beyond being useful when unraveled, these belts are also durable as is. They can be used for a variety of purposes without ever being unwound.

The Rattlerstrap Paracord Survival Belt is an excellent option for bushcraft survival.

Military Style 3 Pronged Pistol Belt

military 3 prong pistol beltThis is the most basic survival belts on this list. I include them not because they’re insanely useful, but due to their reliability. Their dependability is exactly why the US military has been using the same style pistol belt for decades. They work because they are simple.

The material they are made from is both durable, and cheap. It’s a material made for attaching lots of extra tools and weapons. Sometimes simple is best, and if you’re looking for a basic, easy, reliable survival belt, then the Military Style Pistol Belt is the right one for you.

Condor Tactical Belt

condor tactical belt

Want a tactical belt and 2 mag pouches for under $15? Look no further than the Condor Tactical Belt.

This tactical belt is designed to carry a pistol and a couple of magazines (plus, whatever extra gear and pouches you can fit).

It has a plastic buckle familiar to the kind used in by the military during the 1980’s and 90’s. It’s a sturdy buckle, but as a caution, if left exposed to the cold for a prolonged period it can be prone to getting brittle and breaking.

The belt itself is extremely versatile. It can be quickly adjusted by the velcro and comes with two adjustable pistol magazine pouches as well. Both of which can be repositioned as needed.

The Many Survival Uses For A Belt

Serious Medical Uses

Tourniquet: Any solid belt can make a great makeshift tourniquet (which is why heroin users are so fond of them). If you must stop bleeding, slip off your belt, and cinch it up tight. Whether it’s to stop a massive cut or in preparation for an amputation, in a pinch a good sturdy belt will get the job done.

Injury elevation: With broken bones or joint sprains; elevate. Elevating an injured limb is key to helping it heal faster. With a belt, create a loop to hold the injured limb and fastened it to something above you.

Splint Fastener: Should you, or someone in your party, break a bone you’ll want a splint. That means attaching a rigid, straight object to the outside of the broken limb to hold it in place.

Pipes, straight branches, ski poles, all work perfectly for this. With your belt, you can secure one or more makeshift splints in place around a broken bone. Keeping it stable to avoid further damage.

A Lethal Self Defense Weapon

A whip: Yeah, using a belt as a whip is a great way to get people to take a step back. When you swing a belt, you can generate enough whip force to break the skin and cause bleeding. And if you’re swinging the buckle end, you can inflict some serious damage. Because now you have an improvised flail.

I’ve even seen some people fasten a rock in a loop at the end of the belt, which also works in a flail-like fashion.

Garrote: It doesn’t take a hyper-creative mind to figure out how you might choke someone with a belt.

Sling: With only a few modifications you can turn a belt into a projectile launching sling. Send rocks or other projectiles hurtling with greater force than your own arms alone. Slings are a very rudimentary, ancient, very reliable form of projectile weaponry.

Make a Spear: Take a knife, strap it to the end of a long stick using your belt. Viola. You’ll have to stick a few holes in your belt to do this effectively. But in desperate times, weapons are more important than pants-holders so keep your priorities straight.

Physical Restraint: You took a hostile prisoner captive and must restrain them. Or maybe someone in your group has gone crazy, and you want to keep them from hurting themselves.

Well, belts are great makeshift restraints. You can secure someone to a tree or pole, or you can use them more like handcuffs. Without a rope or actual cuffs, belts are your next best option.

Fastening Things For Easier Hauling

Carry Many Items: Wrapping your belt around a stack of books, a bundle of firewood, or a bundle of tools allows you to secure them into a single bunch. Making carrying a bunch of stuff much easier.

Cordage: When two objects need binding, but you haven’t any cordage to bind them with, slip off that belt and use it! You can use the belt as a whole, or, if the need arises, you can cut the belt into strips of leather. In this way, you get a multitude of thin cords with which you can secure whatever you need to.

Hoisting Food: At night, you will likely want to keep your food elevated up and out of harm’s way. Belts are great for exactly this purpose. Fasten your food all together into a bundle, tighten the belt around it, and hang it up in a tree.

Storing it up high will keep it away from unwanted thieves and other would-be scoundrels.

A Survival Belt To The Rescue

Pull People Out Of Harm’s Way: If someone falls in a hole, a well, a ditch, or quicksand, you can use your belt to save them. Like a rope, it will extend your reach by several feet, making it easier to pull them to safety.

Drag a Stretcher: If a group member gets injured, or you’ve killed a big game, you’ll want a stretcher to move the load. And if you are alone, that means you are going to have to drag it alone too. Which is easier with a belt or two fixed up as strap handles.

An Extra Note – On Survival Ingenuity

So now that you know how to turn a belt into a meaningful survival tool, you should feel comfortable with your odds. Right? Well, sort of.

If you do, then that’s great, because confidence is half the battle when it comes to survival. But it isn’t the belt that will save your life. It’s your survival ingenuity. Because even if you own the fanciest survival equipment and don’t know how to use it; you don’t stand a chance.

This article serves two purposes: first, to talk about survival belts. And second, to help stimulate the creative survivor in you. If you can turn a belt into a tool that can save a life, you’re honing your survival ingenuity.

Creative survival is the most useful survival and the most effective survival tool. Thinking inside the box can get you killed in an emergency. Being able to think in a non-linear, innovative way will put you a step ahead of the rest. And increase your chances to live another day.

The Final Word

No, belts are not the first tool you think of when planning for an emergency. But for many of use, it’s a tool we wear every single day.

That’s part of what makes a survival belt such incredible tools. The fact that they are almost always there, on your waist, holding up your pants.

The other quality of belts that gives them such utility is their simplicity. Simple objects can be most versatile.

Even if you never use a survival belt as a whip (or a tourniquet) it may still come in handy in other ways.

New survival gadgets are cool, but because they’re so complex they often lose utility. So think carefully when you are packing your bug out bag, or getting ready to evacuate in the face of an emergency.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Do you have tools that offer the greatest utility with the least amount of space/weight/bulk? Do your tools serve multiple purposes? How much will you really use each item when the time comes?

Will Brendza

P.s. –For A Limited Time Only -Get a FREE FireHawk Tactical Flashlight For Visiting Skilled Survival! Just pay s&h. Click Here To Learn More.
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Straw Bale Homes

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 Straw Bale Homes You may look at this post and say this is ridiculous, and that is the very thing I thought before researching into this concept more. You may think that you can huff and puff and blow this house down, but unless your name is Superman, think again.  The Straw Bale hasn’t been around nearly …

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Bushcraft 101

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Bushcraft 101 John Smith “Disaster Prep Guides” Audio in player below! Bushcraft is a term for wilderness survival skills that was originally created in Australia and South Africa. There are some areas in Australia that are called “The Bush,” which is an area that is mostly wilderness. If you are lacking the needed survival skills, … Continue reading Bushcraft 101

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Trash Can Storm Shelter

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Trash Can Storm Shelter Laura Nell Britton shows one her inventions, the trashcan tornado shelter, at her Rolling Greens mobile home park home on Friday, July 15, 2011. She buried two trash cans, surrounded them with cement and furnished them with pillows and storm supplies click here to read and see how she made this …

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What Makes The Best Just In Case Place?

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Image source:

By The Survival Place Blog

Ever wondered what makes the best Just In Case locations, for when the SHTF and you need somewhere away from all the inevitable trouble that will start happening? If so, you’re in the right place. We’re going to go through a few of the vital things you need to consider when choosing the location of your bolt hole.
It’s a critical decision that you need to get right now, as it will be too late after the event. All your preparation, investment, and work in build the perfect Just In Case place will be for nothing if you a) can’t get there and b) choose the wrong location. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.


Somewhere close

When a national emergency or worst case scenario occurs, you can bet on a few things; one of which is, the authorities will set up roadblocks and close major road arteries. And that’s going to cause anyone wanting to travel a lot of trouble just a few hours after the event. So your bolt hole’s ideal location has to be somewhere close to your current home – a place you can access within a few hours. Not only will it help you avoid roadblocks, but the smaller distance will reduce the number of potential incidents that you will encounter along the way.
Within walking distance

Ideally, you will want to choose a place that you can walk to. Within five days is your best bet – and given you will only be able to walk a maximum of 12 miles a day, that means your bolt home should be within 60 miles. Of course, the route you take will also be critical – are there enough places along the way to keep out of harm’s way? You should already know how to build a survival shelter, of course, but you’ll also need to have somewhere safe to set up at the end of every day.


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Near water

Finding a location with a natural supply of water is essential, and will save you a lot of work. Whether you are buying land to build a survival hut or plan to use public land, make sure you are within a reasonable distance of a natural spring, river, or lake. Not only is water vital for hydration, but you can also use it for sanitary purposes and power – all of which are going to increase your chances of survival.


Somewhere hidden

Finally, the sad truth is that in the event of a critical national emergency, there will be people out there willing to take whatever they find on their own – including your survival home. Therefore, the better hidden your Just in Case place, the less likely it is someone will see it. Avoid areas that are near well-travelled routes, and the more challenging it is to get to your location, the fewer people will find it. Don’t forget; it’s not just about blending your hut in with its surroundings. You’ll also need to find somewhere that hides much of the smoke and light from fires or smells from food.

This article published by The Survival Place BlogWhat Makes The Best Just In Case Place?

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping, Shelter

How To Pitch A Tent Without Poles In An Emergency

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How To Pitch A Tent Without Poles In An Emergency Knowing how to pitch a tent with no poles may not sound like life saving knowledge.. but if you think about things for a second it actually is! Say you are camping and you forgot the poles, what happens if a bear ruins the poles …

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5 Ways To Heat Your Home For Free

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5 Ways To Heat Your Home For Free Staying warm for free… I love these projects! With all things that involve flame, please remember to be responsible and do not leave these burning with no supervision. The last thing I would want is you to burn your house down. That being said, in a SHTF …

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How To Build A Semi-Permanent Family Shelter

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How To Build A Semi-Permanent Family Shelter Shelter is one of the most important things you need to know how to make in an emergency situation. This awesome, family size shelter is just a large “debris shelter” for all intense and purposes but with the added protection from the rain because of the tarp or …

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Why Bamboo Could Save Your Life

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 Why Bamboo Could Save Your Life! Bamboo is cheap, awesome and invasive …. yet it could save your life in an emergency situation. I would consider planting some before it’s to late! Bamboo is one of the greatest finds in a survival situation and has been used by people for thousands of years to do …

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10 Best Survival Shovels For Your Bug Out Bag

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survival shovels with a bunch of gearHave you ever dug a large hole or trench without a shovel? I hope not because it royally sucks.

Trust me; a stick is no substitute for a shovel.

It doesn’t matter what material you’re digging through – dirt, sand, mud, snow or ice. Plus, if you’re not wearing gloves you destroy your hands. With gashes, scrapes, cuts, blisters, and bruises.

Even worse, you end up wasting valuable hours and spending excess energy. Digging without a shovel is a difficult, tiresome, and even dangerous chore.

And that’s why Man invented shovels long (long) ago.

A Bit Of Shovel History

In fact, shovels may rank as one of mankinds oldest tools. Throughout most of the history of mankind, shovels were the only tool for serious excavation. They made it possible to build foundations, irrigation systems, sewage troughs, etc.

They allowed “ancient man” go from mud hut villages to planned cities. Right up to the second industrial revolution, shovels were the standard for excavation.

At one time, manual shoveling became so important that scientists began studying the “science of shoveling.” This field of study was to help make shoveling as efficient as possible. However, that was just before the invention of the steam engine.

Shovel Uses

But for some jobs, nothing can replace a good shovel, and they still play a significant role in:

– Military regimens
– Small projects in mining and construction
– Emergency rescue (i.e. firefighters, EMTs and SWAT teams)
– Backyard gardening and landscaping

The basic design of a shovel is simple. There’s nothing fancy about it. It’s made up of a thin, flat, sturdy spade-shaped hard material with a handle attached. It’s simple, but it’s effective.

But the shovel has come-a-long way over the course of human history. Today, shovels are not just shovels. They are specifically designed for specific jobs.

For example, there are shovels made specifically for avalanche rescue. There are military shovels for digging foxholes for war. Some shovels are ideal for digging deep narrow holes, while others are made for planting gardens.

In recent years, the survival community began developing what we call survival shovels. Tactical shovels made specifically by and for wilderness survival.

The bottom line is there’s a shovel for almost any type of circumstance. And while any shovel is better than no shovel, as you’ll soon see, not all shovels are created equal.

Today, grabbing “any old shovel” for survival is a terrible idea. The standard backyard shovel is too long, too heavy, too bulky to take with you. Especially by foot.

These run of the mill shovels won’t fit inside your bug out pack and will slow you down.

Yes, a regular shovel will fit in most cars or trucks, but it will take up valuable space. And as you’ll soon find out, they can’t hold a candle to a modern day tactical survival shovel.

10 Best Survival Shovels

Survival shovels are designed, top to bottom, for survival. They pack down tight, they’re light but sturdy and fit into a large bug out bag or survival pack.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

The best ones incorporate critical survival tools. Such as hatchets, saws, fire starters, flashlights, and weapons. The handle of the modern day survival shovel has become a storage location. For all sorts of essential gear.

These new shovels are the pinnacle of shovel tech and would make our ancestors proud.

FiveJoy Compact Military Folding Shovel – RS

fivejoyThis survival shovel is the Swiss Army Knife of shovels. The shovel breaks down into several unique survival tools. Which is great when you’re trying to consolidate your gear.

If you choose this shovel for your bug out bag, then you won’t have to pack as many separate tools. This shovel’s got you covered and includes:

• Sharp Axe Blade
• Serrated Saw Edge
• Hammer
• Paracord
• Fire Starter
• Ruler
• Emergency Whistle
• Bottle Opener

These extra tools help make this well-designed survival shovel extremely versatile.

Obviously, it can dig holes and trenches, but it can also saw logs, chop wood, cut, pick and pry to your heart’s content.

You have two options to choose from with the FiveJoy Compact MilitaryFolding shovel. A lighter compact version (C1) or the larger heavy duty version (RS). If you’re planning to hike, backpack or bug out with it then go with the lighter option. Otherwise, you’ll want to upgrade to the heavier duty version.

Either way, this shovel is a tough son-of-a-gun. It’s forged from heat-treated high-quality carbon steel (blade and knife) and aerospace grade aluminum (knife). These metals give the shovel maximum strength and lifetime durability. It’s also rust, water, and fracture resistant.

Unlike other survival shovels, you can adjust the shovel angle with its unique screw locking mechanism, allowing it function in alternate positions. It can be setup at 40°, 90° or 180° angles to operate as a shovel or a hoe.

Smart engineered handle design optimizes comfort and control. The slip proof foam cushion on the aluminum handle is water resistant, quick to dry.

It’s the real deal survival shovel and worthy of an investment in your survival arsenal.

Click here to check out today’s price.

Here are a few other multifunction survival shovels worth taking a look at as well:

2 BANG TI Super High Strength Military Folding Shovel
3 Rose Kuli Compact Folding Shovel Military Portable Shovel

Cold Steel 92SFS Special Forces Shovel

cold steel shovelSome survivalists prefer their survival shovel to function as a shovel, and that’s it. I totally get that. Perhaps you have more fire starters, knives and whistles you’ll ever need, so why get a survival shovel that includes more of these items.

Or perhaps you’d prefer your survival shovel be compact but not necessarily one that breaks down. Because we all know, the breakdown joints are where a shovel will fail first. So how about just eliminating the joint all together?

If these arguments sound like you, and you prefer a simple and sturdy over complex, then you should check out the Cold Steel 92SFS Special Forces Shovel.

It’s both lightweight and robust, with the shovel head made from medium carbon steel. The handle is made out of durable hardwood.

No bells, no whistles, just pure survival shovel goodness.

Click here to check out today’s price.

Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade

gerber e trench shovelLet’s imagine you want to keep things simple, but for your situation, you also want it to fit inside a backpack. Then look no further than the Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade.

It’s a proven, rugged and reliable design and can be used in various military, hunting, survival, tactical, industrial and outdoor situations.

The shovel power-coated boron carbon steel head also includes a serrated edge on one side to allow you to cut through those thick roots when trenching. The shape of the blade also promotes deep penetration into the ground with each strike.

This compact but mighty trencher comes in at an easy-on-the-back 2 lbs and breaks down to only 9.37 inches when in its closed position. When fully open, just use the safety locking design, and you won’t have to worry about it collapsing on you during use.

Lastly, the open handle design allows for maximum grip and power helping blast through your trenching chores quickly.

Click here to check out today’s price.

United Cutlery Kommando Shovel

united cutlery kommando tactical shovelThis shovel takes the simple idea of the wooden handle shovel in its overall simplicity and then upgrades it in both build and style. The United Cutlery Kommando Shovel features an bang near indestructible, injection-molded nylon handle. With 30 percent nylon & fiberglass reinforcement.

The shovel head is made from tempered 2Cr13 stainless steel coated with hard, black oxide.

The shovel’s leading edge is sharp. Plus, the shovel blade includes a partially serrated edge on one side and a concave chopping edge on the opposite.

The shovel also includes a reinforced nylon belt pouch for safe storage and portability.

The bottom line is this survival shovel has a few extra worthwhile features without trying to do it all. It’s a badass survival shovel that looks as good as it digs. It’s ideal for all camping and outdoors adventures and helps with digging, light chopping, or even a defensive weapon in an emergency.

Click here to check out today’s price.

7 Iunio Military Portable Folding Shovel and Pickax

military mulitool backpacking shovelWhat’s the one thing that all the previous shovels were missing? Length.

If you use any of the shovels we already covered, you’re doing to be digging from your knees. They are too short to stand and use your feet to dig like you would a standard backyard shovel.

But that’s where the Iunio Miltary Portable Folding Shovel makes its mark.

This shovel not only has many additional survival tools built in (saw, bottle opener, nail extractor, emergency whistle, fire starter, hammer, etc.) but when fully assembled is 35 inches in length (get the 35-inch version, skip the 31 inch). Yes, you get to stand and dig.

However, if you ever find your in a situation where a shorter survival shovel would work better, just remove the extension sections. You get to choose your shovel length but by adding or removing extensions.

It’s a favorite shovel among outdoor adventurists including Off-roaders, 4-Wheelers, Backpackers, Campers, RVers, Cadets, Scouts, Military Personnel, Hikers, Hunters, Fisherman, etc.

The shovel blade and handle are made from high-carbon steel which is both high-strength and wear-resistant. The grip on the handle is rubber. This military shovel passed all the manufacturer’s durability tests and field trials with flying colors.

The shovel also folds up and fits nicely in a provided high-quality tactical waist pack. The package comes with a belt loop to carry at your side and will work with MOLLE. So it’s easy for you to hang it on your belt or bag for transportation.

But the Iunio Miliary Portable Folding Shovel is not the only option with the extending length function.

Click here to check out today’s price.

Here are a few more survival shovels with extensions:

8 Chafon Compact Multifunctional Detachable Shovel Kit
9 Pagreberya Compact Outdoor Folding Shovel with Knife and Fire Starter

10 Schrade SCHSH1 Telescoping Folding Shovel

shrader telescoping folding shovelWhat I like most about the Schrade SCHSH1 Telescoping survival shovel is the telescoping features and the T-grip. These take your basic trenching shovel and add a couple of key features that help you get the digging job done.

It’s made out of 055 Carbon Steel and the head has is slightly sharpened. The overall blade length is 7.41 inches. The handle can telescope to different lengths as desired up to 19″ in length max.

The entire shovel only weighs 2 lbs. This is one tough shovel too, it won’t come apart under real use like some other shovels we’ve seen.

Click here to check out today’s price.

The Final Word

No matter what you’re digging, where you’re digging it, or why, there is a survival shovel out there designed for the job.

That is why it is so important to make sure that you have a survival shovel packed and ready with the rest of your bug out gear.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

You will thank yourself later – because a shovel is the kind of instrument you don’t need until you need it, and then it is necessary.

I can’t stress enough how bad it sucks to dig a hole with your bare hands or with a stick. In fact, it is downright dangerous. Those scrapes and cuts are prone to infection.

Having a shovel is a means of self-preservation – don’t waste any time. Make sure you’re prepared on this front by finding the perfect survival shovel that will best meet your needs and fit your survival plan.

Will Brendza

The post 10 Best Survival Shovels For Your Bug Out Bag appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Taking your Home Back!

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Taking your Home Back! Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! If you have lived through a terrifying survival situation the disaster itself could only be the beginning. This is especially true in urban areas. Are you prepared to be under siege by multiple attackers in your home? You may or may … Continue reading Taking your Home Back!

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Lost Survival.

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Lost Survival.

In an ordinary lost situation if you did the right thing & notified several people in regards to WHERE you were going & WHEN you intended to return, then all you have to do is sit tight & wait for someone to find you. This is of course providing you STOP as soon as you realise that you are lost, & do not stray too far from your intended route.

IF you feel that you have strayed too far from your intended route, OR you failed to tell anyone where you were going, then there are practicle things you can do to stay safe & perhaps find your own way out.

1) If you are low on water, find some if you can without straying too far from your present position. Low ground is generally better than high ground, though a rock plateau can often hold water in holes & basins in the rock. In flat terrain look for greenery growing. Usually this is trees or bushes. This could prove to be a water hole or a water course.

2) Remember that providing you keep yourself safe & have water, TIME is not an issue. Staying alive is more important than losing your job! Concentrate on staying alive & getting out, relax if you can & don’t panic.

3) You may need to construct a simple shelter from the sun or bad weather. With this goes making a fire, but make sure the fire is SAFE & can not spread! Clear an area of 5 paces all around your camp site, but only make fire if it is safe to do so. In extreme hot & dry conditions you should not light a fire.

4) During the day listen for the sounds of people; vehicle engines, car doors shutting, dogs barking, house doors closing, the sound of chainsaws or axes cutting wood or the sound of a generator or water pump.  Look for smoke from camp fires or house chimneys. This will give you a direction to follow, but make sure you do NOT go round in circles. Line up three trees or land marks or a combination of these in the direction you need to go. When you get to the first marker, put your back against it & line up the remaining two markers with another third one. Continue on & repeat.

5) At night listen for the same sounds, but unless they are close-by, just mark the direction with rocks or sticks or mark trees & wait until daylight unless you have a torch or are fairly certain you are on safe ground. Travelling in the dark can be dangerous & you do NOT want to injure yourself. Look for vehicle headlights, radio tower lights, house lights, camp fires, lighthouse lights if you are near the coast. Watch for aircraft lights, there may be an airstrip not too far away.  

Low ground can be good for finding water, but high ground will give you the best chance of seeing something that will help you get out. High ground will also make you more visible if you keep a fire going. Adding green vegetation to a fire will create more smoke. Passing aircraft may also spot your fire. 

THREE is the S.O.S. signal, three whistle blasts, three gun shots, three fires (keep them safe), three COOEEs (a shout), three air horn blasts, three flashes from a torch at night, three flashes from a mirror during the day. You get the idea.

IF all else fails, going down hill SHOULD eventually lead you to a water course/source. EXAMPLE: you are on high ground, you go down. When you reach the lower ground, say a valley or gully, it too should go downward in one direction. Follow this downward & continue doing this until you find a water course. Mountain areas at their highest points produce what is called “Header Streams”. These are where the water source starts from & these eventually run into streams or creeks which eventually lead to lakes & rivers. Water is also a source of food, & communities are usually built close to a water source.

If you do not expend too much energy, you can survive roughly 3 weeks on water alone, no food. But you can only survive roughly 3 days without water.

The Ultimate SHTF Bug Out Camp Trailer

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Camp trailer 2

cabin_aspens_bug_outConcepts abound for how to provide shelter in the wilds after a bug out escape has been executed.  The sheltering ideas are as diverse as there are preppers and the personalities of people wanting get out of Dodge when things go south.  The options vary from the totally austere use of a mere tarp thrown over a clothes line between a couple trees, to investing in an outbound parcel of land with a house, barn, or other conventional fixed prep shelter.

In between the ends of this spectrum are all kinds of options.  Some prefer simple camping Boy Scout type tents, others opting for sturdier outfitter walled tents.  Beyond tents are fixed campers on wheels of all designs.  Some are lightweight pop-up types with a tent type fold out top, but a solid floor with living conveniences built in.  Others are just tiny, enclosed, walled, towable trailers.

Related: Choosing the Best Shelter for Your Bug Out Bag

Naturally, there are full bore travel trailers of every description on the market from basic units on one axle to huge outfits on dual axles with an extra slide out room or more, and nearly all the amenities of a regular house, only it’s portable.  These are self-contained living quarters than can be towed to any outlying camping area, to secured and hidden locations.  

Then, there is another category of camping trailers that are just a bit more out of the normal mainstream of camping units.  One such outfit named the Timberline Range Camps is located in Mount Pleasant, Utah.  A fitting location to headquarter a specialty camping trailer company.  

The Timberline Outfit

escape_trailerThis team of outdoors minded people have created a line of camping trailers including 11 different models currently available with all kinds of differences in sizes, options, amenities, and equipped to provide about any kind of an outdoor escape shelter. When making an investment like this, there is certainly a lot to consider. While this report is suggesting their use as a potential SHTF Bug Out shelter, naturally they have suitable applications to any outdoors recreational activity from camping in the great outdoors, fishing, hunting, cycle or ATV riding to just relaxing in the woods or by the stream or lake.  Such would make great dry runs for a real SHTF event.  

Just by appearance one gets the impression of the quality of these units; they definitely have an air of ruggedness about them.  They certainly are not cheaply made simple camping trailers with weak frames or construction.  These units are intended for extended outdoor living if necessary.  

The Timberline Escape Model

Camp trailerFor this report, we selected one of the eleven models to concentrate on, so readers would have an idea of the features of one unit.  The Escape being appropriately named for prepping and survival, is a unit that is 21-feet long, nearly 8 foot wide inside with an interior length of 16 feet.  The height of the unit is 11 feet.   Ground clearance on these trailers is of particular interest being 24-inches which is a very high clearance for a unit of this type.  

Contained within is a long list of standard features with other options that can be custom ordered.  First, at the rear of the unit is a full main bed, a pull out table, twin trundle bed with under bed storage.  The Escape is set up to sleep four. Forward is a kitchen, living area with seating benches, a wood stove, a 3-burner cooktop, a 2.7 cu. ft. refrigerator, and a sink.  There is a shower and a toilet.  You have to realize these campers are designed to maximize minimal space if that makes sense.  They are compact for sure, but laid out to be comfortable and utilitarian.  Amazingly, there are plenty of cabinets and storage space, too.  

These campers have a stronger frame than most and more insulation to withstand colder or hotter weather.  These units include a solar panel, 2 30-pound propane tanks, a 20,000 BTU forced air furnace and a water package including a 42-gallon fresh water tank.  The units have gray and black water holding capabilities as well.

Camp trailer 7The electric package includes outlets, lighting and other features to enhance the use of the units.  There is a full complement of inside and outside lights, running lights and tail lights.  There are two 6-vdc deep cycle batteries for the camper. Full camper hook ups are included in the event you have access to external utilities, water hookups, and gray/black water release hook ups.  Options are many including built in entertainment packages, satellite ready, a toy hauler deck for an ATV or motorcycle(s) that then becomes an exterior porch for relaxing.  

Read Also: Prepper Basics – Shelter in Place

You just have to review their web site to get a full appreciation of the design and function of these camper units.  These would be ideal for a Bug Out escape, and or a ready set up alternative shelter in place, ready to use.  Add an outside supply and equipment shed, and any prepper would be comfortable for an extended stay.  

How much?  Have you shopped the cost of a new car or pickup truck lately?  I have.  The new Toyota Tundra I would love to have tops $50,000.  I will probably settle for a Chevrolet Silverado like I have had since 2008 for around $40,000.  The base model Timberline Escape camper goes for around $42,000.  

If you think that is expensive then price other camping trailers, a few acres of isolated farmland, or woodland property, and add the cost of building a small camp house.  The Timberline’s are well within the reasonable costs for a SHTF Bug Out shelter.  And you can move it around as necessary for additional recreational options.   
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Winter Survival: How to Build a Proper Snow Cave

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Winter Survival: How to Build a Proper Snow Cave As this winter is turning out to be a really cold, snowy winter, especially for the top states, this knowledge could save your family’s life if you find yourself stranded or lost, even if you are bugging out. It’s knowledge like this that can make the …

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Basic Cold Weather Manual

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Basic Cold Weather Manual  This is just awesome, I found the full Basic Cold Weather Manual on a website for FREE. It is laid out in chapters and easily navigable. This knowledge is great to have on hand now winter is coming up, you just never know when you may need to know this stuff. Here …

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When the Grid Goes Down, You Better Be Ready!

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When the Grid Goes Down, You Better Be Ready! We all rely so much on the grid, from things as simple as charging our cell phones, to running our water heaters and cooking our food! Let’s think for a second, what have you got in place right this minute if the power went out you …

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3 Emergency Heat Sources When The Power’s Out

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3 Emergency Heat Sources When The Power’s Out All homes nowadays have to stick to building code to heat houses, they have to all be able to keep a house above or at the comfort zone for living. There are a few problems with that however, most heaters need electricity to run. If you have …

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What Natural Disasters Are Covered By Insurance 101

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What Natural Disasters Are Covered By Insurance 101 Insurance is a win /lose kinda situation, it costs a fortune and usually if you have it nothing is ever damaged, but if you don’t have it your house gets destroyed. I found a great article on what is covered if a natural disaster ever happens and …

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How To Build A Gypsy Wagon Trailer

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How To Build A Gypsy Wagon Trailer If you are looking to build a nice camper or off the grid tiny house, I think this how to build a gypsy wagon trailer is for you. It combines the old-school look of a gypsy trailer with the modern amenities of a new camper. Best of all, you …

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5 Ways To Keep People Off Your Doorstep When SHTF

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5 Ways To Keep People Off Your Doorstep When SHTF If you are bugging in, or for some reason couldn’t bug out, these tips may save you and your family’s lives and your stockpile. It’s no secret that when SHTF, there will be people that want to take advantage of the situation, either by looting, …

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How to Build a Warm Shelter Out of Everyday Materials From Any House

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How to Build a Warm Shelter Out of Everyday Materials From Any House If SHTF and you have no where to go, or you are bugging out and you lose your shelter, this article is a good read and tells you how to build shelter with common house hold materials, I’m even betting that you …

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Staying Outside Longer During The Winter Months

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Staying Outside Longer During The Winter Months Few people find the courage to adventure into the wilderness during the winter months and they prefer to enjoy the warmth of their beds. Many lack proper planning and resources to explore the white scenery and even worse, they lack the knowledge to prepare for the environment they …

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What Not To Do!

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I was prompted to write this short article because I recently saw a video about survival in Arnhem Land. In this video a number of suggestions were made that I do not agree with. Rather than rubbish the video or the presenter, I prefer to simply advise what not to do in this blog.

I lived for 10 years in the Territory, I survived cyclone Tracey in 74, & prior to that I lived in an Aboriginal camp in Arnhem Land for two months.

When travelling in the Territory, wet season or dry season, do NOT set up camp anywhere near water if you intend to spend the night there, & certainly not in shaded areas near water. The reason for this is: 
(1) mosquitoes breed in water, & they love to be near water & particularly swarm in shaded areas. The dry season can get chilly & therefore less mossies especially if there is a stiff breeze blowing, but in shaded protected areas the mossies are still there.

 (2) Leaches. Leaches love the damp, & they are not just in the water. Leaches can be found in the damp areas anywhere near water & you do not want these in your shelter. 

(3) Snakes. Snakes love the water & frequent low damp areas, this is where they find their food. They are also great swimmers & will often travel by water. If snakes are to be found anywhere, it will be near water.

(4) Crocodiles. Crocs are everywhere in the Territory, a safe water hole one season may not be safe the next, because during the wet season crocs travel overland. Crocs can be hard to spot in the water, & they will often leave the water. Crocs can also run very fast on land for short distances. If you don’t want a croc dragging you out of your shelter at night then don’t camp near the water! If you have to fetch water, NEVER put your hands in the water, NEVER stand on the water’s edge. Use rope, cordage or at the very least your waist belt through the handle of a billy to dip water. Crocs are amazingly fast so take care! 

(5) Rising Water. In the wet season water holes, creeks & rivers can rise very quickly & if your shelter is too close to the water you can get flooded out. 

If you are going to make camp do it in an open area high & dry if you can with a tree or two for shade. In this way you can take advantage of any breezes blowing that will help keep you cool & hopefully keep the mossies at bay. Sometimes there is no escaping mossies, I have covered myself with a blanket, used a mossie net, & sat all night by a Buffalo dung fire drinking rum all night. The latter won’t keep the mossies off, but after half a bottle of rum you don’t really care! Come morning though you will not be feeling so good from the rum or the mossie bites!

You take care out there.

34 Best Survival Hacks You Should Learn Right Now

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survival hacksSurvival hacks are solutions that break the rules. The best survivalists don’t just blindly follow rulebooks, so we hack when necessary. Sure, there are hundreds of survival guides we learn from but you’re at a huge disadvantage when you rely too heavily on any one resource.

Real survival is a creative endeavor that requires fast thinking and an open mind. Sometimes you have to improvise, adapt, and make it up as you go along. You have to make split-second decisions. You have to work with what you have got.

You have to think like McGyver by survival hacking your way to safety.

Some of the following survival hacks are my own personal tricks, others I have learned from different survivalists, but together they are very useful and applicable in most any survival scenario.

But remember: you can always “make up” a new survival hack on the fly. All you need is a goal and a handful of random materials. There’s always more than one way to solve any problem.

The following list of survival hacks is not comprehensive. In fact, these 34 survival hacks are just a small drop in a much larger bucket. But this list will inspire you in a creative survival sort of way.

The Survival Hacks (We’ll Start Simple)

1 – Dorito Fire Starters

If you need to get a fire started ASAP, but don’t have paper or lighter fluid, use Doritos (any corn chip will work well). These chips are flammable and will ignite quickly. They are a perfect makeshift tinder to get a small quick flame. Time to survival hack your way into building a much larger fire.

They are a perfect makeshift tinder to get a small quick flame. Use Doritos to survival hack your way to build a much larger fire.

2 – Alcohol Swabs as Fire Starters

Similarly to Doritos, alcohol swabs are incendiary. The alcohol makes them flammable enough to catch quickly and the cotton holds a flame long enough to establish a lasting fire.

3 – Battery as Fire Starter

Another great survival hack to generate flame is to use a battery and a couple small pieces of tin foil (or wire). By placing one tin foil strip on each end of the battery, you can get the foil to heat up and burst into flame.

Any battery will do, and the flame generated should be big enough to set fire to paper, thin bark, alcohol swabs or even Dorito chips.

4 – Pencil + Jumper Cables + Battery = Fire

Simply attach the cables to your car battery like you are giving someone a jump. But connect the other ends to a pencil.

The graphite core of the writing utensil will conduct electricity, heating up and causing the pencil to burst into flames.

5 – Crisco Candles

Often times, in survival situations, people lose electricity to power their lights. But fear not! As in times of old, you can use candles to generate light. But what can you do if you are fresh out of wax candles?

Crisco makes a good candle “wax” substitute. Just run a makeshift wick through a big glop of it and you’ll be good to go.

6 – Crayon Candles

Crayons are more than just art supplies for kids. They can be stood up on end, lite on fire, and viola you have a makeshift candle. Each crayon candle will only last about 15 minutes but you can get a box of 96 crayons. That equates to 24 hours of emergency light.

7 – Terra Cotta Heaters

Here’s a survival hack for when there is no electric heat, and you need to warm up a small room. Well, without a fireplace, starting a fire in the living room is out of the question. But there is another way: terra cotta conducts heat very well and radiates the warmth that it collects.

By placing a few candles beneath an upside down terra cotta pot (which can easily be bought at any hardware or garden store) you can create a mini-heater that will pump out a surprising amount of heat.

Set up a few of these makeshift heaters and your home will be nice and toasty in no time!

8 – Coke Can Alcohol Jet Stove

Cut the top of the coke can off about 2-3 inches from the bottom of can, and turn it upside down. Drill or poke holes in the bottom of the can so that air can flow through the ‘stove’. Place a gel fuel tin (or something similar) under the upside down coke can and light it.

You may have to adjust the size of your holes and the airflow somewhat, but once you get it, you should have a working jet stove.

9 – Wild Plants For Insect Repellant

Smoke of any kind works as a general insect repellant, but a few wild plants work as well.

The video below is proof that the right wild plants will keep these dangerous pests at bay.

10 – Super Glue Stitches

Super glue is small, easy to carry, and when there is an open wound that needs closing there really isn’t anything (short of actual stitches) that is better suited for the job.

Just make sure to pinch the laceration closed until the glue dries.

11 – Makeshift Slings

Slings are one of those things you don’t need until you really need one. Luckily, they are pretty simple and really easy to improvise: bandanas, t-shirts, hoodies, blankets and tarps can all work.

If it is too big, cut it, if it is too small, tie a few together.

12 – Hunting Broad Heads From Keys

With the right kind of tools and a file, a key can be shaped into a makeshift hunting broadhead.

13 – Duct Tape Fletching

If you are making your own arrows, you will undoubtedly need a form of fletching. Fletching is the feather (or foam, or plastic) “rudder” at the end of your arrow. It stabilizes the shaft during flight and increases accuracy by a great measure.

In a pinch, when you do not have the time to craft fine fletching on each arrow, duct tape can provide the necessary stiffness to balance the flight of your projectile.

14 – Can Top Fishing Hooks

Fishing is one of the best ways to gather food in wilderness surviving. But finding the right materials is not easy. Luckily, one very common item makes for an almost perfect fishing hook: pop tops!

The fun little tags on top of your beer and soda cans are a great shape to make a fishing hook out of. All you have to do is remove one segment of the top and file it to a point. And there it is: you’ve got yourself a functional fishing hook.

15 – Gorge Fishing Hook

Gorge fishing is one of the oldest methods for fishing. Human beings have been using this technique for thousands of years to catch fish, and it is pretty simple: sharpen both ends of a small twig or stick, and carve out a notch in the center of it.

Wrap line around the carved notch and stick your bait on one sharp end. Drop the gorge hook in the water, and when a fish swallows it, pull the line hard and the twig will turn sideways inside the fish, lodging in its throat and securing your dinner for the night.

16 – Fish Trap from 2-liter Bottle

Take the cap off of the top and cut that end of the bottle right just where it reaches full thickness. Flip the smaller piece and insert it back into the bottle, in reverse. You may have to make a few cuts in the cap end so that it fits snugly inside the bottle’s body. Tie (or otherwise secure) the inverted cap end inside with wire or string.

The basic idea of this trap is the same as any commercial crabbing trap: for fish to swim inside, where they will not be able to swim back out.

Of course, don’t expect to catch any monster fish with this, but it is a good way to secure a few mouthful of minnows.

17 – Yucca Sewing Kit

This is one of my favorites, but it is also only viable in certain geographic areas of the United States.

Yucca is a sharp, agave-like plant with big fat leaves that end in sharp barbed points. Cut one of the leaves off the plant, and start shaving off the edges, until you are left with a long thin, single strip of Yucca with the barb at one end.

Now, cut that thin strip in half and twist the two strands together like a small rope. This will increase the tensile strength of the twine and leaves you with a sharp needle and a thread with which to sew your torn garments.

18 – Water Bottle Ceiling Lights

Need a ceiling light, but don’t have electricity? We got you covered. Just fill a transparent water bottle with water and cut a hole in the roof of your shelter (this probably will not fly in the house).

Jam the bottle up in the hole, and there it is! The light will travel through the water and disperse (hooray for physics), creating a source of light to brighten up your darkest days.

19 – Desk Lamp Water Jug

Gallon jugs of water can work as lamps too! Just fill them up, and wrap a headlamp around them. The light from the headlamp will turn that gallon jug into a bright desk or table lamp.

20 – Improvised Compass

This is one of the oldest and most useful survival hacks in the “book”.

Get a cup or puddle of water (it does not matter as long as it is still and not flowing), lay a leaf in the center of it and gently place a sewing needle or piece of wire on top, so it floats. The magnetic fields of the Earth will naturally orient the needle to point North/South.

This trick has saved thousands of humans over the centuries and is a hack every survivalist should know well.

21 – Rain Collection from A Tarp

All you need is a large tarp and a 5-gallon bucket to collect a significant amount of water when the skies open up. Even in a light drizzle, you can collect a decent amount of drinkable water with this simple survival hack.

22 – Signaling Whistle from Bullet Casing

Maybe might have noticed that larger spent bullet cartridges look a lot like whistles. This similarity was not lost on us, and with a few precise cuts, you can make a very loud, very shrill whistle, perfect for signaling distress.

23 – Folgers Toilet Paper Protector

What is worse than going to the bathroom only to discover you have no toilet paper? Going to the bathroom and discovering that the toilet paper you did bring is soaking wet… I only had to make this mistake once before I changed my ways forever.

Now, I use a coffee can to house my toilet paper, keeping it forever dry! Zip lock bags work well too and pack easily.

24 – Condom Canteen

Yeah, you read that right. Those trusty rubbers are good for more than just baby-prevention, they can also save you from dying of thirst.

Fill one up with water, and carry it with you if there are not any other viable options for transporting the water. Just make sure the condom is not used, or flavored, or lubed.

25 – Improvised Reflective Signals

These can be fashioned from any number of reflective materials; rear-view mirrors, CD’s, polished metal and even jewelry can work.

Of course, some are easier to work with than others. But as long as it shimmers in the sunlight, you should be good to use it as a distress signal.

26 – Tarp Shelters

Survival shelters are hard to come by in many situations. Especially a waterproof shelter. But with a

But with a large survival tarp, you can make sure that you stay dry and protected from the elements.

Tarps do not insulate very well, though, so while it is possible to just hang one up and pass out underneath it, you won’t be staying warm for long. So, the best way to remedy this it to build a small stick frame (like that of a tent) and lay the tarp over it.

Then, pile dirt and moss and leaves up against the sides of the tarp, this will act as insulation and keep your heat from dissipating too quickly.

Snow can be substituted for the dirt in winter (like an igloo).

Here’s where you can get an Aqua Defender King Camo Tarp like the one in this video.

Complex Survival Hacks

27 – Hunting Bow from a Bike Tire

There are a few slightly different methods to accomplish this, but the general idea is the same. First cut the frame of a bike wheel in half, clean out the spokes and sand down the sharp edges.

Then create a guidance system for your string with a couple of well-placed eyelets along the cut rim of the wheel.

The video below goes into much greater detail. It takes time, and it requires a number of supplies to accomplish successfully, but this is the kind of thing that could be used for hunting or self-defense in a pinch.

28 – Makeshift Raft

If I learned anything from the movie Jaws, it’s that empty plastic containers float pretty well. That simple fact applies to smaller containers too; like drinking water bottles and gallon jugs.

By fastening a bunch of empty plastic containers together – either with string or by wrapping them all together in a tarp – you can create a pretty big flotation device capable of carrying at least one person.

29 – Coffee Can Wood Burning Stove

Coffee cans are useful for a lot of purposes. But perhaps my favorite (and one I learned years ago, back in cub scouts), is the wood burning rocket stove.

Turn the metal coffee can (plastic won’t work, sorry) upside down on the ground, and punch a couple of ventilation holes in (what is now) the top of the can. You can also cut a small circle of the flat part for increased airflow.

Cut a square out of the side of the can where you can feed the fire inside. Now all you have to do is collect wood, and keep the inferno inside your coffee can burning.

These stoves work great for cooking outdoors when you don’t have a gas stove or don’t want to cook over an open fire. They also generate a lot of heat and can act like a small heater on chilly nights.

30 – Blanket Chair

Just because you don’t have access to your favorite Lazy Boy recliner, doesn’t mean you have to forsake comfort entirely.

By building a tripod A-frame out of 4 or more solid branches, and tying a blanket or a tarp to it, you can make a very comfortable, single person camp chair, perfect for keeping your bum off the cold ground.

31 – Homemade Penicillin

If you are not familiar with the revolutionary excellence of penicillin as an antibiotic, you need to get educated. This awesome little mold was one of the first ever discovered antibiotics used to fight bacterial infections.

And in the wilderness, or in a survival situation, having an antibiotic to fight an infection will absolutely save your life.

Before antibiotics were discovered, people regularly died because of small cuts that got infected. And you will too, without antibiotics. But you need to be careful, making sure to follow every step in the process as closely as possible.

And I wouldn’t wait around until you have an infection to start growing penicillin – because that is already too late. This is one that needs to be planned ahead by growing your own or with survival antibiotics

32 – Ping Pong Ball Smoke Bomb

Have you ever tried lighting a Ping-Pong ball on fire? If so, you know that they are incredibly incendiary. They light up like the 4th of July.

By wrapping tin foil around the ping pong ball, and leaving a funnel for air at one end, you can create a fairly effective smoke bomb.

Put a flame to the bottom of the tin foil wrapped ball until the plastic inside ignites. And BOOM! Smoke will start billowing out the funnel.

33 – Grass Tire Pressure

If you get a flat tire and do not have an air pump, a spare, a patching kit, cell service to call for help, or any other viable option, you can fill a burst tire with grass and other foliage to provide just enough support to drive on it.

Simply cut a few holes on the inside of the tire and start stuffing! Obviously, you will not be able to use that tire ever again – it will need to be replaced – so don’t do this unless you have no other options.

34 – Improvised Perimeter Alarms

Security is important and becomes more important in survival situations. Air horns, firecrackers, or any triggering device can be rigged with string to go off when someone trips the wire.

A well-planned perimeter alarm system can help you get a good nights sleep when you’re concerned about trespassers.

You can pick up some Sentry Alarm Mines that work with .22 rounds. When tripped, these will fire off the .22 round and make one hell of a bang.

The Final Word

There is no “right way” to survive. Each individual is going to have his or her own survival style, tricks, and hacks. I highly encourage everyone to develop your own…

No website, book, or teacher will ever capture every possible survival hack. Quite simply because, there’s always new ones being developed by clever survivalists. Anyone with a handful of materials, a goal, and the will to survive, will rig together things in order to stay alive.

So share your own survival hacks with us today in the comments below!

– Will Brendza

The post 34 Best Survival Hacks You Should Learn Right Now appeared first on Skilled Survival.

The term “family” will take on a whole new meaning after SHTF hits.

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Hello, my friend and welcome back!  Many people these days think of blood relatives when you say family, but that won’t be true after SHTF.  Grab a cup of coffee and have a seat…

The post The term “family” will take on a whole new meaning after SHTF hits. appeared first on American Preppers Online.

Hot Tent Survival Camping: How to “Stay Warm In the Harshest Winter Climate”

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Video still: Wilderness Rocks, YouTube

By Mac Slavo –

How can you stay warm even in the coldest of climates if you are compelled to trek through the great wilderness around us?

There’s no way to know the exact conditions you may have to endure, or the situation that will lead way to the SHTF we have all been anticipating.

But you can be ready, and practice to hone your skills until that day comes.

Whether camping or bugging out, there are some good tips and skills for adapting for harsh winters, and these may come in handy, particularly if you live in the northern parts of the country.

On top of the appropriate warm gear, it would be wise to be able to control heat while backpacking or on the run. While it isn’t easy to do in every situation, it is possible even in a temporary structure.

One of the best strategies to use a portable, wood-burning stove designed to safely set up inside tents, with the stove exhaust exiting through a sectioned-pipe (also portable) that is designed to vent through hole in the roof of the tent or shelter.

Best of all, these stoves are relatively affordable (or you could make your own).

Check out this video via Wilderness Rocks:

Hot Tent Wood Stove Bushcraft Overnight winter survival Backpacking.

Here are some other videos on how to best handle the harsh climate of winter survival camping.

As usual, there isn’t just one right way to do it, but putting these strategies into practice will give you the opportunity to work out which methods work best for your needs.

The last thing anyone wants to do is discover they are inadequately prepared to deal with the cold once there is no turning back.

Solo Bushcraft Camp. 2 Nights in Snow – Natural Shelter, Minimal Gear.

Warmest Winter Survival Shelter – Deep In Bear Country

Bush Camp Long Term Winter Survival Shelter Construction

Whatever you do, make sure you stay out of the cold long enough to avoid getting hypothermia, or succumbing to the elements.

Surviving in this climate can be one of the most deadly settings you’ll ever encounter.

Continue reading at Hot Tent Survival Camping: How to “Stay Warm In the Harshest Winter Climate”

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Fire, Prepping, Shelter

Underground ‘Survival Condos’ For The Rich Sell Out: $3 Million; Self-Reliant For 5 Years

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TOPEKA, Kan. — The demand for luxury survival shelters for the rich is exploding – so much that underground survival condos in an old missile silo have sold out.

An unspecified number of buyers paid $1.5 and $3 million each for the condos, developer Larry Hall told CNET. The project was so successful that Hall is now constructing new survival condo facilities and taking contracts for them.

The customers are not “typical ‘survival nuts’ as portrayed in the media,” Hall said in a press release, but rather they are “successful, educated and well-to-do individuals who simply want peace of mind in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.”

The condominiums are located in one of the most hardened structures ever built: an Atlas Missile Silo at a secret location in Kansas, according to the website. The silo was built in 1960 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withstand a direct nuclear strike.

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Get Backup Electricity Today!

It has nine and a half foot-thick epoxy-hardened concrete walls and a $2 million concrete dome cap that can withstand winds of up to 500 miles per hour, according to the website.

The facility is designed to be self-sufficient for up to five years during a disaster.

Surviving in Style

Underground ‘Survival Condos’ For The Rich Sell Out: $3 Million; Self-Reliant For 5 Years

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“We believe that given the present worldwide economic conditions, historical disaster evidence, and the obvious signs of global climate changes, that it is prudent to have a ‘disaster plan and shelter’ in place should a need for it occur,” the website says.

One unidentified buyer told CNET that the price is not as outrageous as it first sounds.

“The same quality of condo in New York would have cost me the same, if not more per square foot and you get peace of mind with this,” the buyer said.

Although the facility is designed to withstand a nuclear blast, the greater concern for clients is the “breakdown of society and total civil unrest,” the company said in a press release.

“In the event of a major disaster, economic collapse or whatever the future may hold, there is one common concern that Larry and his tenants share, and that is the ability to protect themselves and their families when the government is no longer able to do so,” the press release said.

Each unit is from 900 to 1,800 square feet.

Just 30 Grams Of This Survival Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

Some of the amenities that will help the wealthy survive doomsday include:

  • A swimming pool and spa.
  • A rock climbing wall.
  • A dog park.
  • Organic hydroponic food production.
  • Aquaculture food production.
  • A general store.
  • An indoor shooting range.
  • A movie theater.
  • Classroom and library.
  • Minor surgery center.
  • Bar and lounge.
  • A dog park so your best friend can survive, too.
  • Complete gym, with spa and workout facility.

So, how will the rich make it to their condos during a disaster if they live in another state? The company has plans for that, too, but the information is only for buyers.

“We have three contingency plans in place to ensure that you have passage to the facility in the case of any emergency. These plans will be discussed with potential buyers only,” the company’s website states.

The silos aren’t the only luxury condos in America. Another company, Trident Lakes, is selling its own underground survival condos in Texas.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Extended Blackouts? Read More Here.

Turn Oil Tankers or Grain Trucks to SHTF Homes

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Turn Oil Tankers or Grain Trucks to SHTF Homes There are many marvelous ideas for turning old buildings into new habitable structures, but unless the existing units are modular the plans can rarely apply to multiple similar structures over time. A creative variant on the now-classic cargo container home concept, this rather brilliant design idea …

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Build A Badass Shed With A Front Porch

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How To Build A Badass Shed With A Front Porch Do you happen to spend a lot of time in your shed? It’s not uncommon to keep tools or projects you’re working on here, or even additional personal belongings that didn’t quite make the cut for being used inside the house. Whatever you store in …

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Fail to Prepare Fail to Live

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insurance_policy_prepDoes it make sense to be a prepper?  Should you spend time and money on things that will help you survive a potential disaster that might never happen?  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these questions and always manage to circle back to the same answer:  prepping is your auto, life, and house insurance all rolled up into one. Would you drive around without insurance?  You could, but if you get into an accident you’ve got the potential to be paying expensive medical and vehicle bills the rest of your life.  In my opinion it’s hardly worth it.  Even if you’re not the one causing the accident you might still wind up footing the bill if the other person is uninsured.  Life is a crap shoot and you need to stack the odds in your favor as much as you can.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

ice_storm_98_trees_line_noaa6198Sure, paying insurance premiums sucks.  I hate to see a portion of my hard earned pay check go out the window on payday to pay for something that might never happen, but I do it.  I look at prepping the same way.  You don’t know when a natural disaster or any other kind of disaster is going to happen.  For example:  winter is coming and we might get another ice storm like we did in ’98.  Some people lost power for two weeks during that time and it was really something to see how people reacted to it.  A few years ago we had a storm go through Maine and I lost power for three days.  Not too bad, but then again I have a generator and my house is wired with a transfer switch.   I had running water, cooked on a camp stove, used my grill, had lights, TV for the kids, and refrigeration. Although it was a pain putting gas in the genny every day or so, it would have been far worse without it.

Get Prepared

What I found interesting is that during that time people would say, “Man, you’re lucky you have a generator.”  Hmm, not really.  I show up for work every day, have a side gig writing for a blog, and stay busy doing wilderness survival training for myself.  I don’t consider myself lucky.  I just show up for work every day.

Related: Toughen Up and Take The Pain 

tv_wasting_time“I don’t have time to prep!”  Is something I hear from people who spend hours binge watching The Walking Dead.  If you’ve got time to watch TV, you have time to do some prepping.  I quit watching television back around the time MTV started airing that first “The Real World” series.  I watched two episodes and felt like I’d lost a little piece of my life I’ll never get back. I turned off the cable and never looked back.  After the cable is gone and there’s plenty of time I hear, “But I don’t have the money!”

You don’t need to go out and buy a huge stockpile of food, weapons, and ammunition the first day.  This can be a game of little wins.  Check out this post about how to buy a little more every week to get some extra food in your pantry.  Within a reasonably short amount of time you can have a pretty decent amount of stores in and ready to go in case of emergency.

What about firearms?  My personal opinion is that firearms should be down the list of things you need to start prepping, but I guess that depends on where you live and who you might be expecting for company after TSHTF.  I know this flies in the face of traditional prepper thinking and I’ll probably take some heat for it, but I’d rather have food to eat and keep out of sight then to have a large supply of guns and ammo, but little or no food to feed the family.  A single well thought out firearm should do the trick for most people.

But let’s say you do want a gun and don’t have a bunch of money to throw at it.  Check out this post from Road Warrior about how to spend your hard earned money on surplus firearms.  If you decide to get a gun and take from someone else who’s prepared, that makes you an armchair commando.  It’s also a good way to get yourself killed or branded as someone who needs to be locked away.  Chances are good that the SHTF event – whatever it may be – will not last forever and there will be a day of reckoning for those who went down the wrong side of the law, or moral code, or whatever may be in place at the time.

Ask yourself what’s the downside of having some extra food and water on hand?  If you’re doing it right there shouldn’t be a down side.  You should be eating the oldest part of your rotation and moving the new stuff to the back just like they stock groceries at the super market.  If the lights go out for whatever reason, you’ll have food and water for awhile.  That’s being smart, but you’d be amazed at how many people only have a few days food or less in their pantry at any given time.  A lot of city folk out there like to pick up dinner on the way home so it’ll be fresh.

Taking Care of Number One When The Lights Go Out

generator_prep_liveI don’t think everybody will be a bad actor, but there are definitely a few out there that will act badly during an SHTF event or even a short range crisis.  One of my favorite examples is during ice storms in the Northeast.  There have been reports of people stealing generators while they’re still running and even death threats to line crews if they didn’t get electricity out to someone’s home!

Think about how important electricity is to us.  It’s literally the blood that flows through the nation’s arteries keeping our food fresh, our lights on, helping to heal our sick people, and keeping us warm.  When the power goes out many people band together and help each other out, but there’s always those few who aren’t prepared and will do anything to help themselves.  You need to be prepared for those people as well.

Also Read: Urban Survival

If you can’t afford a full generator, or it doesn’t make sense because of where you live, you might also try a back up solar generator.  It’s small, quiet, relatively inexpensive, and good enough to power lights and small appliances.  It’s also renewable as long as the sun is shining!  What could be better than that?

My first responsibility is to my family.  I have a wife and two young children still living at home and I want to make sure they are safe and as comfortable as possible during any emergency.  I’ve spent some of my hard earned money to ensure that happens and you probably have too.  Part of that planning is protecting your equipment from those who haven’t and feel justified taking what is yours.  My generator is in a small shed and bolted down.  Someone could get it if they really wanted it, but it would mean some time and effort on their part.

Priority List

tent_sheter_rule_of_3Here’s a simple priority list based on the Survival Rule of Three’s.  This is off the top of my head, so if you have anything to add leave a comment at the bottom of this post. The Rule of 3’s looks like this: You can survive 3 minutes without air. You can survive 3 hours without shelter. You can survive 3 days without water. You can survive 3 weeks without food. I translated the rule like this:

Air – People die every year during blackouts because they have their generators in the basement or somewhere not ventilated properly.  Make sure your generator is in a place where it doesn’t build up carbon monoxide.

Shelter – You already have shelter and now it’s a matter of staying warm.  Wood stoves, propane heaters, and kerosene heaters, are all ways you can keep your family warm during those times when the grid is down.  You can also “huddle in place” by getting under some blankets if none of those options work for you.

Water – Have enough water stored in your house for at least three days or have a way to filter or clean it if you have a pond or other water source nearby.

Food – As you can see food is down the list as far as survival needs go; however, try telling that to your four year old when she gets hungry.  Stock up on food so that if something happens you can at least feed them for three days or a week.


Aim to be self-sufficient. To answer the question at the beginning of this article:  yes, it makes sense to be a prepper.  I dislike the show “Doomsday Prepper” because the producers always have them say something like, “I’m preparing for a solar flare,” or some such drivel.  Most preppers I know are preparing for anything.  To say you’re preparing for one specific event is absurd.  Prepare as broad and deep as you can and no matter what happens you’ll be ready when the time comes. Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

Photos Courtesy of:

Pictures of Money
B Bola
Matt Davis
Glen B. Stewart 

A Pop Up House That Will Fit In Your Bug Out Bag

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A Pop-Up House That Will Fit In Your Bug Out Bag This awesome design is very innovative and actually can be used not just for survival situations. Imagine if you had one of these for a festival or a campout. Designed by Martin Azua, Basic House is a foldable, inflatable, and reversible quasi-tent that provides …

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How To Bug-in and Survive

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How To Bug-in and Survive During a bugging in or hunkering down scenario a person will stay at home and will do everything necessary to survive a crisis. If you have everything you need in your home in order to ride out the storm, there is no need to go outside and test your chances …

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Free Manuals to Download on Survival and Edible Plants

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Free Manuals to Download on Survival and Edible Plants via Preparedness Advice

Everybody likes to get something for free and here’s a huge collection of free manuals for you to download. I have not had a chance to review all of them so I can’t say that everything they suggest is accurate. Many of them are hundreds of pages long, so take your time reviewing them and making note of the books or pages in books that you may want to print out.

Urban Preparation Kit, Part 1, On Body Kit

Traps and Snares

Wilderness Survival Skills

Surviving Terrorism

Wilderness Survival

Survival Water Purification

Preserving Game Meats

Nuclear War Survival Skills

How to Build a Debris Hut

HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan

Combat Survival Evasion

Cold Weather Survival: A Way of Life

Cold Weather Survival

Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making

Alpine Living for SAR

Aids to Survival



Survival In Cold Weather Areas

Survival, Evasion and Recovery

NEWER US Army Survival Manual

Marines Individual Terrorism Survival

USMC Winter Survival Course

Wilderness Evasion: A Guide to Hiding Out and Eluding Pursuit in Remote Areas

USMC Summer Survival Course

Free Manuals on Edible & Medicinal Plants

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Volume 2

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Volume 3

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Volume 4

Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada

Survival Medicine

Survival: How to Make Herbal Preparations

Edible Medicinal Plants

Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition

PDR for Herbal Medicines

Healing Pets With Alternative Medicine

Ethnobotany of the Forest Indians

Edible Wild Plants

Edible and Medicinal Plants

Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herb Craft

A Taste of Heritage: Crow Indian Recipes & Herbal Medicine

Common Edible Mushrooms — Be careful here. It’s recommended that you never eat a wild mushroom without personal instruction with an expert forager/herbalist.

A Complete Handbook of Nature Cure


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What is a Wofati and How Does it Work?

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What is a Wofati and How Does it Work? When building a homestead from scratch, one of the biggest challenges is building a home that is both comfortable and self-sufficient.  While you can build a cabin from lumber and reclaimed materials, the winter months will be difficult without some serious insulation.  An alternative to traditional …

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Build A Low Impact Woodland Home For Less That $5000

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Build A Low Impact Woodland Home For Less That $5000 I love this … Simon Dale is a family man in Wales, the western part of Great Britain. His interest in self-sustainability and an ecological awareness led him to dig out and build his own home—one of the loveliest, warmest, most inviting dwellings you could …

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Living IN the Land

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Living IN the Land Sure, we’ve all heard of living off the land, but how would you like to live IN the land? A few architects have made it possible, and the homes they have designed are nothing short of spectacular. This new school of design has gone beyond traditional structure-focused architecture and instead, creates …

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Bug Out Location: Find It, Prepare It, Protect It

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by Megan

The one resource every prepper must have is a good bug out location. Some people even hope to completely relocate their family to their bug out location full-time before SHTF. The type of property you choose for your bug out location will depend on how you intend to use it, how large your family or survival group is, and your skill level with the tasks needed to maintain a survival property.

No matter how you intend to use your bug out location, the steps are the same. You must find it, prepare it, and protect it so that you can keep your family safe and secure during chaotic times. Finding the perfect bug out location can be a little overwhelming, there are some common desirables, but there are also a lot of things to consider. So, let’s break it down and see what each of those steps entails.

  1. Find It

How you ultimately search for and find your bug out location is less important than the criteria that you use to select your bug out location. Some people find their bug out location using a traditional real estate agent; some people find their bug out property by shopping online; others rely on friends and family to alert them when a property comes available. You may find free land that works well or want to drive around an area you like looking for “for sale” signs.

No matter how you find your property, there are some key criteria to consider. Distance from home, location threats, and geographic resources are three key things to consider for any bug out property. As with any land purchase, no property will be perfect, so it’s best to consider all the criteria and then make informed compromises based on your unique needs and situation. You may find a property, for example, that has everything except a fresh water source so you would have to decide to either invest in drilling one or more wells on the property or look for a different property. Or perhaps you find the perfect property located closer to a major interstate than you’d like to be, but you’re okay with ramping up security to defend it. Those are the trade-offs you may need to make once you find a property you like.

The ideal location will be one where you and your family can be comfortable and be as self-sufficient as possible when SHTF. If your property doesn’t have a water source and you must make a run for water every other day or so, you are putting family members at risk every time they leave the property. It’s best to find a location where you can grow or forage everything you need to supplement your stockpile.

Distance from Home

The ideal bug out location is no more than five days’ travel from your home location if you had to walk. The average adult can travel on foot for about 10-12 miles per day and no more than 50-60 miles in five days. This distance can be significantly less if you have children or elderly in your group or if you are not as physically fit as an average adult.

When figuring driving distance from home, your bug out location should be no farther away than you can travel on one tank of gas. Make sure you have an accurate estimate of your car’s gas mileage based on its age and condition. Gas stations will quickly become clogged with desperate people or will be inoperable. It’s a good idea to plan for storage and transport of additional fuel in your bug out vehicle just in case you are stuck in traffic or must take a longer route to get to your bug out location due to road blocks, debris, or other unpredictable danger.

Location Threats

Every property will have its unique characteristics depending on its precise location. While no property can be deemed 100% from looters and chaos, there are some location threats that you can try to stay away from. The location you ultimately choose for your bug out retreat needs to avoid danger zones such as:

High-Density Population Areas

When a crisis hits, lots of people are going to panic. Some will have prepared, but many will not have prepared enough and much more will not have prepared at all. All major cities and especially high-density population cities will become danger zones. As water, food, and medicine become scarce in these high-density population areas, people will leave the city in droves.

These hordes of people referred to as the “golden hoard,” will be scared, hungry, and desperate. They will flee the city by car and on foot in search of food, water, and other resources. Ideally, your bug out location should be 50 to 150 miles outside of these hot zones. These desperate people will become one of the biggest threats to the security of you and your family. The farther you are from these high-density population areas, the less likely it is your retreat will be overrun.

The Eastern half of the United States has three to four times the population density of the Western half of the United States. On the West Coast, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have the highest population density, and the coastal areas of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Maryland have the densest population in the entire United States. Consider the routes these massive numbers of people will take out of these cities when choosing your bug out routes and location, make sure you are as far out of range as you can get.

Relocation Bottlenecks

Your bug out route and your retreat location must avoid relocation bottlenecks as much as possible. A relocation bottleneck is an area such as a bridge, exit ramp, railroad crossing, mountain pass, or mountain tunnel, including areas with only a couple highways that must be used to leave the city. A high-density population city with only two or three roads in or out is a relocation bottleneck because those routes will quickly become jammed with vehicles and people.

Interstate and Freeways

When SHTF and people begin to flee their homes in search of food, water, and safety, the majority will instinctively use main interstates and highways. This means not only will main interstate roads and highways become clogged with traffic, but the areas off these main roads and interstates will become clogged with people on foot who were forced to abandon their cars as they run out of gas. The average person will travel 5-7 miles on foot from highways, interstates, and even county roads as they look for food, water, or shelter. Your bug out location needs to be outside of this range so you can avoid being overrun.

Geographic and Climate Dangers

Your bug out location should be a good distance from any geographic dangers such as volcanoes, river valleys or lowlands that are prone to flooding, areas prone to wildfires, or mud or rock slide areas. In addition to geographic dangers, avoid choosing a location that is frequently hit by hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, or other natural disasters.

Nuclear Plants

It goes without saying that the areas near nuclear power plants may become dangerously unstable during an extended power outage. Yes, nuclear plants have numerous backup systems in place that will kick in when the power goes out, but as the power outage continues, the possibility of system failure increases. When you find a property that you are considering for a bug out location, check to see where the nearest nuclear plants are located and make sure you are far enough away to survive a blast and subsequent radiation residue.

Military Targets

No matter which country you choose for your bug out location, make sure that you take into consideration any military targets in the region. Our enemies will target military bases, government headquarters, major urban centers, and other locations it perceives as a threat. When those military targets are hit, you don’t want to be anywhere near those areas.

Desirable Geographic Resources


Ideally, the property you choose for your bug out location will be at least partially wooded. This gives you a source of wood to use in your fireplace or woodstove. A property that is partially wooded also means that you will have at least some wood available for building purposes if needed. Wooded areas are also beneficial because you can hunt, trap, or forage additional food to supplement your stockpile. If you cannot buy land that has wooded acreage, try to buy something that is adjacent to a State or National Forest area.


Your bug out location should have at least one source of fresh water that you can draw from not only for drinking but for watering plants, cooking, and personal hygiene needs. This could be anything from a well (have a hand pump available) to a pond, a spring or stream that runs all year, a river, or large lake.

The best fresh water source is one that is less vulnerable to contamination such as chemical or sewer waste run-off, so an underground spring on your property is ideal. Moving water is better than standing water because it’s easier to take advantage of the kinetic energy to generate power if needed.

If you cannot buy property that has a fresh water source on it, look for property that is within five miles or less of a fresh water source. It should be remote and yet close enough that you could walk or drive daily and haul water back to your bug out location.

When collecting water, go to the highest point or as close to the head of a stream or river as possible because the chance of contamination from things such as dead animals, human or animal waste, etc. is less. Rainwater collection is another good way to store water, but it should be your backup plan and not your only option for fresh water.

  1. Prepare It


Ideally, your bug out location needs to be stockpiled with enough food and water to last you and your family at least one year. If budget is an issue, purchase extra supplies a little at a time and add them to your BOL stockpile. Include not only healthy survival foods, but seeds, medicine, extra clothing, weapons, and blankets. In addition to that, you need to plan for and begin preparations for ways to feed your family after your stockpile runs out.

Garden or Food Forest

Another way to prepare your bug out location is to plan and plant a survival garden or ideally a food forest. A food forest is good for a bug out location that you will only use occasionally until SHTF. Food forests need very little maintenance after the first year or so, and because your food is part of the forest, it is hidden from sight which means looters and other desperate people won’t even know it’s there.

Alternative Systems

One mistake some preppers make is that they believe that all they must do is stockpile enough food and water at their bug out location and everything will be okay. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When SHTF and you get to your bug out location, you will need alternative systems for a lot of things. You will need to have an alternate method for cooking, for refrigeration, for power and even for washing dishes and taking a shower. A solar power, wind power or even a hydro-powered system can solve many of these issues, but these alternative systems need to be setup and tested in advance.

You will also need to get in the habit of using less electricity, less water, and even eating different foods than you may have eaten at home. Make sure that you consider and prepare these alternative systems and procedures for your bug out location and make sure every family or group member is ready to implement them.

Tools and Equipment

When SHTF, there is very little chance that you will have time and space to transport all your tools and equipment from your home or garage to your bug out location when you evacuate. Also, there will be tools and equipment you will need at your bug out location that might have been impractical for your home and yard. Make sure you stock your bug out location in advance with the tools and equipment you will need to make repairs to your shelter, outbuildings, fences, solar panels, etc.

  1. Protect It

Natural Defense

If possible get a property hidden from the road by trees, shrubs, and other natural barriers. Look for a property that is on higher ground, such as on or near the top of a ridge or hill so that you have a clear view of anyone approaching the area. The steep ground also helps to slow the approach of your attackers which can give you time to pick them off from higher up. The Higher ground may also serve to deter any looters and desperate members of the golden horde that are looking for food. They will be hungry but exhausted and a long climb up a hill on the off chance they will find food may be enough to push them on to the next house.

Another way to defend your property using natural resources is to use landscaping to deter people from exploring. Instead of high fences with barbed wire that lead looters to believe you have something worth protecting, plant a firethorn hedge. It can grow as tall as fifteen feet and has thorny stems, so if planted around the perimeter of your home, it becomes virtually impenetrable to all but the most determined looters. There are other types of landscaping you can do to try and keep people away from your property and your home. Research to find the right combination for your property and climate.

You can also hide things from the sight of those on the road, so they don’t realize there is food on your property. Hide planted vegetables behind a hedge or deep within a food forest. Plant a garden of decorative edibles and plants that many people won’t recognize as food.

Still another way to use nature to deter looters and desperate people from ransacking your home is to plant some wild edibles along the road on either side of your property. The hope here is that hungry looters will devour the wild edibles within easy reach to fill their stomachs and then continue up the road rather than hike up your driveway to see what you may have.

If you have the mindset for it, you can also plant poisonous wild plants along the road edge of your property to try and entice hungry looters. If they eat the poisonous plants and become sick, they won’t be focused on looting your property any longer.

Passive Defense

There are many things you can do around your property to passively deter looters and others who are desperately searching for food and water. The idea is to get them to pass by your property and look for an easier target. These are passive defense techniques, and they won’t work for every looter, but they may deter some of those who are less determined:

  • Record dogs barking and growling and have a battery-operated player on hand and turn it on when you are alerted to people on the road near your property. Some people are afraid of dogs and will move on to the next house if they think dogs are a threat. Or even better, get a set of guard dogs and keep them near the entrance to your property.
  • Use debris around your yard or land to push intruders through a certain area where you can easily ambush them or pick them off with a gun from an upstairs window.
  • Board up first floor doors and windows to make it more difficult for intruders to enter your home without making some noise that alerts you. Keep a rope ladder inside on the second floor in case you and your family need to get out quickly.
  • Make your property and house look like it is abandoned and has already been picked clean. Paint graffiti on the outside of the house or the word “Quarantine”, leave mail or newspapers piled up near the mailbox or on the front step, or collect debris from other areas and use it to litter your yard or block your front door or walkway.
  • Collect some long snake skins or realistic looking fake snakes and coil them near the front door and lay some on the walkway to make it look like there may be more snakes inside.
  • Spray the area near the road with skunk spray at night. If looters think a skunk is on your property, they may keep moving to the next house rather than risk a confrontation.

Active Defense

When it comes to actively defending your property, make sure that you are prepared with enough guns and ammunition and even some weapons to defend it adequately. Once you engage looters in a fight, you have no choice but to keep fighting until someone wins or loses. Depending on who you are up against and how prepared they are, a gun battle could go on for a long time. Know how and where to store your ammo stockpile so it will be ready when you need it, and you can rely on it to be in good condition.

So, to have a secure, stable bug out location, you first need to find it, prepare it, and then protect it. There is no right or wrong way for you to choose your bug out property. The key thing is that you consider as many factors and threats as possible and try to plan accordingly. Just like with other areas, preparedness will be a key factor to survival for you and your family.

Cold Weather: The Great Equalizer

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forest_cold_winterFor preppers, cold weather has to be the worst of the elements.   In some parts of the country we are just entering the phase of the harshest part of winter. It has been pretty mild in most cold zones, but Mother Nature being as she is, I expect that to change.  Remember, if you saw the Seattle-Minnesota NFL playoff game last year, the air temp on the field was at or below zero not counting the -10-20 degree wind chill factor. How would you like to be outside during a SHTF in that?

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

How do you prepare for and survive a bug out with outside temperatures in the teens or worse? It is the ultimate challenge in my mind. Cold has a way of sinking into the soul. Can you remember photos of the German Army marching in to Russia in WWII?   How about Valley Forge with soldier’s feet wrapped in mere cloth because no boots were available? I shiver just thinking about it. Cold can zap your spirit and take your life.

Structural Preparation

But like any other part of preparing for a SHTF, preppers can prepare for cold weather, too. First and foremost some kind of shelter has to be paramount. You simply cannot sustain yourself in zero temps huddled under a tarp cover. Even a cloth or nylon tent is sketchy. One exception might be a high quality outfitters wall tent with a good wood, propane, or gas stove inside. Protection from cold, wet and wind is essential to survive the winter months.

Related: Tarp or Tent Debate 

Better yet some kind of a fixed house, barn or structure. Doors and windows can be sealed and walls insulated. A wood stove or even a fireplace would generate some heat to stave off the penetrating impact of the cold. Kerosene or propane gas heaters could also be deployed. If you live or escape to where it could be cold, then plan now.

Camping trailers are an option, too, as a bug out shelter in addition to being available for regular recreational use.   If considering a trailer to tow, shop for one with good wall and floor insulation and a good heating system. Most likely a heater and cook stove will be fueled by propane, so plan for ample supplies for a long term stay if needed. Try to park and anchor a trailer out of prevailing winds with a tree line screen or other protective block.

Clothing Matters 

Obviously proper clothing is an essential defense against cold.  That cotton hunting outfit will not do. Forget the blue jeans for driving winds and snow. And don’t be fooled by some highly marketed super fabrics either. Many of them fail in the cold. Go for well insulated outfits and or wool. Wool from head to toe will provide better body heat retention than just about anything else, even when wet.

Read Also: It’s Winter – Don’t Go Hiking Without Proper Clothing! 

Though you’ve heard it many times until you’re dizzy, layering is still the best strategy. Use wicking layers against the skin and work out from there. Then, just like a wall thermometer, as you heat up or cool down, you can adjust by taking off or putting on layers. Don’t forget a good hat or beanie to stop body heat from escaping through your head. Use a scarf for the neck.

Get proper boots, and gloves, too. If there is a driving wind, then a protective facemask adds warmth and skin protection as well. Cold weather boots such as Schnee’s or Kenetrek boots with the wool liner inserts provide exceptional foot protection from the cold. Your boots should be totally waterproof and well insulated.

frost_tree_pine_winterSupplemental heat can also be added to the exterior of the body by using the chemical heat up pads that can be placed in gloves, boots or as body wraps. The ones that stick on the bottom of socks add an extra measure of warmth for cold feet. Place them on top of the toes and the bottom for even longer heat generation. There are battery operated or rechargeable boot heaters, too, but these require extra batteries or access to a power source to recharge them.

During super cold you have to eat right and hydrate more than you might think. Internal ovens  fed with protein foods with a good mix of carbs.   Cold weather will drag on your mind and body. Prepare ahead to withstand it and you will survive it.

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Ten Ways To Survive the Winter Cold

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winter_river_snowIt’s getting to be that time of year again and winter is nearly upon us. You know what that means,  snow. If you live in the northeast, you’ve seen your fair share of it.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the cold and snow and thought I’d pass on a few things I’ve learned and seen over the years.  Playing outside in a good winter snow is awesome.  I love snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating, snow mobiling, winter camping, and just about anything that can be done outside in the winter.  I’ve never understood folks who go inside at the first snow fall and stay there until spring. Why huddle under a blanket or camp out next to the wood stove when there’s so much to do outside!

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Armed with years of experience in hostile winter conditions, I’ve prepared an informative list. If you’ve read this list and followed it, you’ll be better prepared than most individuals.

1.  Dress for Winter

thick_snow_heavyThere’s a couple of ways you can be prepared for winter that will allow you to enjoy it.  This first one may be a little obvious, but in order to stay warm you’ve got to dress for it.  There’s a few guidelines for dressing for winter and the first one is to dress in layers.  Try to dress in synthetics as much as possible, but wool is also a good material to wear.  A good pair of winter boots to keep your feet warm will make your life a lot better as well.  There are thousands of winter boots out there, but I’d suggest something thick and durable.  I wear technical ice climbing boots and gaiters for just about everything, but I figure most people won’t want to pay $500 for a pair of boots.  Shop around and find yourself something comfortable.  You don’t want your gloves to be skin tight.  In order to provide warmth they need to be a little loose.  If your hands start to sweat take them out of the gloves if feasible.  If it’s below zero you probably won’t be able to, but wet gloves suck when it gets cold.

A good coat will consist of a shell and inner liner.  If I’m working hard snowshoeing, I’ll take the outer layer off and put it back on when I’m no longer working. If the temps are in the 20’s or 30’s, it’s not that big a deal unless the wind is blowing. When the temps dip below zero, you have to pay special attention to how you dress and how much you sweat.  Sweat can kill you in cold weather. Be prepared to change your clothes if necessary. I usually carry an extra set of long johns in my pack, so if I sweat I can change into something dry when I stop moving.

2. Bring Snowshoes and Skis  

If you’re going out in deep snow, the only way to move around is with snowshoes or skis.  Deep snow is very hard to navigate. If you’re on foot, your lack of mobility could kill you.

3.  Stay Hydrated  

If you’re moving outside during the winter, you’re dehydrating at a summer rate.  Be wary however, your thirst reflex kicks off in cold weather.  Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.  If you’re hiking, keep that canteen handy and take a swig from time to time.  A good way to monitor hydration levels is to check your urine colors.  If it’s yellow, you’re getting dehydrated.  The darker the yellow, the more critical it is for you to drink.

4.  Don’t Underestimate the Environment 

winter_hike_survival_prepI’ve met people hiking in the winter with light clothes, no packs, and no clue.  I actually had one guy ask, “Do you know how to get out of here?”  We were hiking some back mountain trails and he and his son were completely lost.  They had no maps, no compass, no pack,  and no chance at survival if conditions deteriorated.  If you do go for a hike, make sure you’re able to take care of  yourself in a worst case scenario.  It’s better to carry those fifteen pounds of extra gear just in case.

5.  Know How to Start a Fire in the Cold and Snow 

With fire and shelter, you can survive adverse conditions. Starting fires is a skill that takes practice.  When you can light a fire with a lighter, begin using matches.  When you’re proficient with a match, use a firesteel.  Once you’ve mastered the fire steel, try making a bow drill.  When you can light a fire with a fire steel or bow drill, using a lighter almost feels like cheating.  Practice!

6.  Don’t Overestimate Your Skill 

snow_fire_survivalIf you’re an expert at desert survival, understand that doesn’t mean jack shit when the temp falls to -20 and you’re faced with three feet of snow.  I camp out year round and try different things to see how I’d make out in an emergency.  Last weekend (mid-November 2016) I spent the night in my tipi.  The temps were in the high 30s and I decided to sleep with just a couple of blankets to see how I’d make out.  I damned near froze my ass off because I wiggled off my sleeping mat during the night and the ground was leaching the heat out of me.  Make sure you understand all the nuances of how cold weather can impact you.

7.  Know How to Use Your Gear  

Whatever gear you decide to carry, you must know it like the back of your hand.  How will your stove fuel behave in cold weather?  Did you know that your Jetboil needs a special mix of fuel in the winter in order to work properly?  Same thing is true with Bic lighters.  If you do get a flame in really cold weather, it’s puny.  Test the integrity of your gear. When your life is on the line, you don’t want your equipment to fail.

8. Take a Map and Compass and Know How to Use Them

Terrain looks different in the winter.   I’ve hiked trails in the summer and when I went back to that same trail in the winter I had a hard time finding my way.  Why?  When it snows, it bends the trees over and they have a tendency to cover the trail.

9.  Know How to Build a Shelter 

In order to prepare a camping spot, pack down the area with your snowshoes. Let it set a half hour or longer and you can make blocks for an igloo.  Did I mention deep snow is hard to move around in?  You can either dig a snow cave or make an igloo out of blocks that you cut from the snow.  Keep your shelter small and tight and it will retain heat better.  You’ll find that snow is a remarkably good insulator!

10.  Be Physically Fit.  

There’s a lot of heart attacks from older and middle aged men who live a sedentary lifestyle after a big snow storm.  Snow can be quite heavy and the physical exertion of managing this snow can kill.  Keep yourself physically fit and it won’t be an issue.

There are many factors to keep in mind when you’re outside in the winter, but if you dress warm and use common sense you can have a great time.  Instead of saying, “Oh damn, winter’s almost here,” you can now say, “Alright!  Winter is almost here!”

Questions?  Comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor

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16 Ways To Keep Warm And Reduce Your Bills In Winter

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16 Ways To Keep Warm And Reduce Your Bills In Winter This winter is turning out to be a cold one. Just 4 states are without snow this year, so far. Thats crazy! If money is tight and you want to save some by not using your heat as much, this article is for you. …

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Realistic House Security

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Realistic House Security Home security is something on everyone’s mind lately. It seems there’s unrest everywhere you look. From the inner city, to the suburbs, and even out into the country. People are voicing their disagreement and in many cases, violence erupts. The average person needs realistic home security solutions but what can they really …

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5 Tools You Need To Build The Perfect Survival Shelter

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By The Survival Place Blog

Whatever you think about the recent results of the US election, it’s not an exaggeration to say we’re living in strange times. A lot has changed around the world in the last few months and years. Who knows what might happen from here? And, there’s always the threat of natural disasters, which never truly go away. It’s always a good idea to have a survival shelter in case the worst was to happen, so let’s take a look at how to build one.


For any survival kit, the shovel is an important necessity. A shovel can be used for all sorts of reasons with a shelter, from building a makeshift bed to solving drainage problems. You’ll need to be sure that you get a high-quality shovel if you’re planning to build a good shelter. You can find these across the web if necessary.

Power Drill

A power drill is an important tool for any circumstance, let alone building a survival shelter! You’ll need this to reinforce the shelter and carry out all manner of DIY tasks related to it. There are a lot of different drills on the market, and you might need to seek more helpful tips about which ones you’ll need for certain tasks. Be sure to have the right type of drill to hand when you’re building your shelter.


This might not be a tool to actually build your shelter with, but it’s an important necessity for the shelter itself. To be honest, a tarpaulin presents you with a readymade shelter from the off. It can be used for all sorts of other things, including providing ground insulation. Or, as a basic need to stay warm, it can be used to wrap around yourself inside the shelter during cold moments. A necessity, for sure.


You never just know what you might need a hatchet for. In a particularly troublesome scenario, it could be used as a self-defense mechanism. More likely, you’re going to use a hatchet to chop wood and hack tough materials. Ultimately, the hatchet is a great tool for the survival build because of its many uses. It’s also something you can carry around with ease, unlike some other tools which might need plugging into the mains.


Has a survival shelter ever been built without the use of a knife? Whatever type of knife you use for the task, you’re bound to get a lot of use out of it. In a similar fashion to the hatchet, the knife can be useful for a wide variety of tasks. Close-up work both inside and outside the shelter will be easy to tackle with the convenience of a knife. It’s also worth equipping yourself with a pocket knife for any nights you spend inside the shelter later on. You never just know when it might come in handy.

We hate to suggest that anything bad might be on the horizon, but it’s always worth having a shelter just in case. It’s also quite a fun task to get involved with, especially if you’re a fan of DIY! There’s no time like the present to get started.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog; 5 Tools You Need To Build The Perfect Survival Shelter

Filed under: Prepping, Shelter

21 Situations Where Paracord Can Save Your Life!

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21 Situations Where Paracord Can Save Your Life There are simply hundreds of little things that can go awry on any given day. This is especially true following a SHTF event when resources are scarce and things are chaotic. When you begin to understand this, you realize that you cannot possibly carry every piece of … Continue reading 21 Situations Where Paracord Can Save Your Life!

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Russians Ordered To Build Underground Shelters As 40 Million Citizens Take Part In War-Prep Drills

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Russians Ordered To Build Underground Shelters As 40 Million Citizens Take Part In War-Prep Drills

The Kremlin. Image source:

MOSCOW — Experts says the Russian government is preparing its citizens for nuclear war with the United States following a series of curious events, including 40 million of its citizens participating in four days of civil defense drills held Oct. 4-8.

The drills referenced a nuclear war.

“If that should one day happen, each of you must know where the nearest bomb shelter is,” state-controlled television network NTV reminded viewers.

That statement was followed by a video describing the country’s options should a nuclear strike occur. The video even showed schoolchildren putting on gas masks.

Around 200,000 emergency services personnel and 50,000 vehicles took part in the drill, RT news reported. State and local governments also participated in what was designed to coordinate Russia’s response to a nuclear attack.

Get Free Backup Electricity — That Works Even During Blackouts!

Russia will use nuclear weapons if the United States interferes in its military operations in Syria, warned Evgeny Kiselyov, a TV host sometimes described as Russia’s propagandist in chief. Kiselyov said American impudence would take “on nuclear dimensions,” ABC News reported.

“Russian is tired of arrogant American abuse,” he said.

Some Russians Think Nuclear War Is Imminent

“These are the most serious tensions between Moscow and Washington in decades,” Sergei Markov, a member of the Moscow-based Civic Chamber, told The Daily Beast. “The war might begin even before the November elections in the U.S.”

Markov added, “I personally plan to stock 200 cans of pork to be ready for a potential war crisis, and I advise everybody to do the same.”

Russian authorities are also ordering local governments to build bomb fallout shelters. That was the case in St. Petersburg, where managers of the Zenit Arena – a soccer stadium not yet completed – were told to start constructing such shelters, The Daily Beast reported.

Be Prepared! Store An ‘Emergency Seed Bank’ For A Crisis Garden

At least one Russian legislator had a chilling warning for the United States.

“I cannot understand why the West cannot just leave us in peace, let us be,” State Duma Deputy Vadim Dengin told The Beast. “Americans should realize that it will be their children looking for shelters, too, if they are serious about attacking Russia.”

As Off The Grid News reported, Russia’s elderly are stockpiling food, believing that a war with the United States is imminent.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

How To Build A 16 Item Winter Emergency Vehicle Kit

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winter emergency vehicle kit

If you’ve yet to build a winter emergency vehicle kit, now’s the time.

With fall currently in full swing, those of us who live, work, and play in the mountains are seeing the first signs that winter is near.

Soon, the mountain peaks will be capped white with snow and roadway conditions will change for the worst at the drop of a hat. Icy roads and deep snow are extremely dangerous for travel and a leading cause of stranded vehicles.

Every year, we hear stories of motorists stranded in blizzards. Sometimes it’s only overnight, but occasionally (on rural back roads) they are stranded for days or weeks, huddled in their vehicle struggling to stay warm.

Too many of those sad tales end in tragedy. For example, here’s a story of a man trapped in his vehicle for 2 weeks when caught in a freak blizzard storm.

He was luck, he survived. But if he’d properly prepared, he wouldn’t have had such a close call.

With some basic survival knowledge and a stash of survival supplies, your odds of surviving stranded in a winter blizzard goes up significantly. These are supplies everyone should store in their vehicle for winter travel. It’s called a winter car emergency survival kit.

This kit will help you accomplish two things. It will help you get unstuck should your vehicle slide off the road. And this kit will help you survive should you not be able to get your vehicle unstuck.

So you winter emergency vehicle kit is made up of items that fit into these two categories:

  • Gear to help you get unstuck
  • Supplies in case you can’t get unstuck

car-stuck-in-snowy-road-1Items To Help You Get Unstuck

Your best bet is to be self-sufficient and avoid spending a night (or longer) stranded. So it’s worth having a few key tools in your vehicle to get you going again.

Mainly, the preventative equipment required for self-rescue consists of 1) ways to remove (or simply move) snow and 2) traction devices to help you get a grip on icy and snowy surfaces. Plus a few items to make the use of these items a little more convenient.

1 – Snow Shovelwinter car kit shovel

A good, sturdy shovel is an absolute must for a winter car kit. Often, some efficient digging can help you quickly get free.

And even if you still can’t get your vehicle free, a shovel will allow you to keep your vehicle from being entirely buried under a snow drift. Because a vehicle that’s completely buried in snow is nearly impossible for a rescue team to spot.

Or if worst came to worst, you could use your shovel to build a snow shelter.

2 – Windshield Scraper and Brushwindshield snow scraper and brush

In all winter weather conditions, you’ll have to remove a lot of snow and ice from your vehicle’s roof and windshield.

A good, heavy-duty scraper and brush with a long handle will save you a lot of time and effort, as well as make it easier to see out your windows, keeping it out of the ditch.

Have one of these is a must have all winter long. I’m always amazed when people are huddled in their cars for 30 or more minutes waiting for their vehicles defroster to warm their windshield because they don’t own a scraper. Talk about unprepared!

3 – Traction Mats

Often, a litttraction matsle extra traction is all that’s needed to get moving again. Many people use sand or kitty litter, but these items only work once and then you’re out of luck.

A set of traction mats are reusable and can be easily repositioned to keep you heading in the right direction.

4 – Tire Chainstire chains

In packed snow road conditions, tire chains are an excellent way to help with traction and prevent sliding in the first place. However, they are a controversial topic, so make sure to check the local regulations regarding their use.

Many western states, require tire chains in severe conditions. In the Midwest, they are illegal in most jurisdictions even during the worst snows.

If you carry chains, make sure you know how to install them – put them on first in your dry driveway and later in a snowy parking lot.

It’s a lot harder to get them on tight and secure when it’s dark, and you’re fumbling with cold hands, so you’ll appreciate the practice if the need arises.

5 – Small Tarpsmall-tarp

A small tarp makes kneeling in the snow (and roadside slush) a lot easier and drier.

It also helps keep you from losing parts or tools into the snow. A 5’x7′ tarp is a perfect size for a lot of roadside uses.

6 – Battery Boost Jumperbattery-boost-charger

Cold weather is rough on your vehicle’s battery, and it’s easy to find yourself unable to start the engine when you need it most.

A self-contained battery jumper is a simple solution and much better than waiting for another motorist to jump start your engine.

7 – LED Tactical Flashlight

All survival kits need a super bright LED EDC flashlight. If it’s dark out or the blizzard has blocked the sun out you’ll need illumination to see what you’re doing. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a spare set of batteries in your winter emergency vehicle kit as well.

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Help Written In SnowItems In Case You Can’t Get Unstuck

If you have to stay out overnight, you’ll need a few more things.

At this point, your focus turns from getting your vehicle out, to keeping yourself and your passengers protected from the elements and as warm as possible.

8 – Waterstainless-steel-water-bottle

In the winter, the colder temperatures often trick people into assuming they don’t need to drink as much water. You tend not to feel as thirsty.

The truth is you need to stay hydrated to maintain proper body temperature, no matter the weather outside. Want proof?

High-altitude mountaineers spend about as much time melting drinking water as they do climbing – it’s THAT important.

A stainless steel water bottle is an excellent choice since you can use it over a camp stove or small fire to melt and heat water.

Never eat large amounts of snow directly. Always melt the snow before ingesting. If you eat snow directly, you’re basically using your internal body temperature to melt the snow. This can lower your core temperature and lead to hypothermia.

9 – Foodhigh-calorie-food-bars

In the cold, your body is craving calories in any form, burning them at an increased pace to keep your core body temperature up.

Cookies, crackers, nuts, dried fruit, plain chocolate bars, jerky. I like the high-calorie bars since you buy them once and you’re food preparation is done.

Snickers bars may taste great, but you’ll chip a tooth on the caramel trying to eat one that’s been sitting in sub-zero temps for even a few hours.

If you’re able to heat water over a stove or fire, consider adding powdered hot chocolate or another warm drink with lots of calories.

10 – Extra Warm Clothesmechanix-gloves-1

If your vehicle is stuck in the snow, chances are you’ll int the cold for an extended period of time as you attempt to get out on your own.

Quite often, this can leave you snowy and wet, a bad combination for cold weather survival.

Carrying a change of clothes and some extra insulating layers will let you get out of any wet clothes and warm up while you plan your next move.

Glove are a must. If you’re trying to do any of these survival tasks with bare hands you’re not going to be successful. I like Mechanix brand gloves since they provide me the dexterity to perform survival tasks. Try lighting a fire with thick mittens on; not fun.

11 – All Weather Reflective Blanketall-weather-blanket

You can go with a thick wool blanket but I prefer an all-weather reflective emergency blanket.

These blankets are made with a heat reflective internal layer that helps trap the body heat you’re generating. Keeping you warmer, longer.

Also, consider how many people you’ll be traveling with and be sure that you can keep everyone warm.

12 – Paracord (FireCord)fire-cord-paracord

With so many paracord uses for survival, it a must-add item to any survival kit. You should spend a few dollars more to get Firecord. It designed with 7 strands of paracord and 1 strand of Fire Cord you can use as fire tinder.

12 – Waterproof Matctesla-coil-lighterhes anwaterproof-matchesd Coil Lighter

Keeping a box of waterproof strike-anywhere matches and a coil windproof lighter in your vehicle is simple insurance in the winter.

A fire will allow you to keep warm, melt snow into water, and signal searchers.

14 – Camp Stove

Your matches and lighter won’t be worth small-portable-camp-stovemuch if you don’t have something dry enough to burn.

In dry, cold conditions (like the Rocky Mountains), you may be able to find enough dead, dry wood to maintain a small fire, so a fire starter makes a wise addition.

In wetter climates (like the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest), finding anything dry enough to burn is always a challenge. So adding a small portable camp stove is a better option.

15 – Extra Fuel Bottlefuel-bottle

Obviously, extra fuel can be handy if you’re relying on your vehicle for shelter. Running the engine for heat will help keep you warm, but it will also slowly drain your gas tank.

Carrying a couple of extra liters of fuel in a sturdy container will give you a bit of a buffer in case you run out.

And One More Item

16 – Winter Travel Kit Bag / Totewinter emergency vehicle kit duffle bag

A large zippered duffle bag is a great way to keep all your winter travel survival supplies organized and contained in your trunk or under the back seat. Once you’ve assembled your supplies, choose a bag that will fit them all.

It doesn’t necessarily need a lot of pockets, but make sure you have a way to separate your spare gas can and your camp fuel from the rest of the gear.

Action PlanWinter Emergency Vehicle Kit Action Plan

This action plan can be summed up in just two words: Do It.

Invest in the gear and supplies listed in this article. Then put them all in a duffle bag and put this bag full survival items in your trunk.

You have zero excuses not to do this. If you drive in winter conditions at all, it’s your personal responsibility to invest in a few essential tools and supplies.

This responsibility goes double for anyone who drives others around. That means parents of young children and those who take care of handicap or elderly.

The time to take meaningful action is NOW before the first flakes begin to fall.

The post How To Build A 16 Item Winter Emergency Vehicle Kit appeared first on Skilled Survival.

DIY Temporary, Affordable, All-Season, Comfortable Dwelling

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DIY Temporary, Affordable, All-Season, Comfortable Dwelling I am sure you can tell by the picture what this article is all about. I read it and at first I thought , meh, screw that, but then I read further and read the comments and people were loving this idea so I researched it further and yeah, …

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10 Most Amazing Apocalypse Bunkers

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10 Most Amazing Apocalypse Bunkers I kinda wish I never looked at these now! I am envious and a little jealous. Oh boy, if you had money you can literally buy anything! I shared a post earlier on storm shelters which led me to this article I am sharing with you all today. I found …

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29 Cool Recycled Pallet Projects

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29 Cool Recycled Pallet Projects If you have been a fan of this page for a while, you must know that I LOVE PALLETS……. If you’re new, please note.. I LOVE PALLETS. 🙂 These are pretty much free, they are so versatile you can even make a house out of them. I have personally made a small …

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